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Silk by Alessandro Baricco
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Silk (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Alessandro Baricco, Guido Waldman (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8921241,998 (3.78)203
Member:branje
Title:Silk
Authors:Alessandro Baricco
Other authors:Guido Waldman (Translator)
Info:The Harvill Press (1997), Editie: New edition, Hardcover, 96 pagina's
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Silk by Alessandro Baricco (1996)

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» See also 203 mentions

English (82)  Spanish (17)  French (7)  Italian (6)  Dutch (5)  Catalan (4)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  English (124)
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
I’ve mixed feelings about this book. I liked the melodic simplicity of the language, especially as I was reading it in French which is a bit odd when I could have been reading an English translation of the Italian but then, having French characters, retrospectively it seems appropriate enough.

I thought that Baricco didn’t want the reader to feel judgemental about Hervé Joncour falling for the young woman in Japan but I did wonder about his relationship with his wife who, during the book, clearly realised that her husband had fallen for someone else but the big surprise at the end – that she had written the letter – certainly throws everything into a more poignant light.

That we don’t see any remorse from Joncour is perhaps more to do with the muted tone of the book rather than any definite lack of it. What impressed me less, though, was the way the reader is presumably meant to feel that Joncour and the young woman in Japan had some sort of huge rapport, some great love when all they’ve done is look at each other and she hasn’t said a word – hardly a developed relationship yet I think we’re meant to feel it’s some great amour rather than a very basic physical attraction.

So, in some ways the book works well for me and in others, despite its quiet tone, it seems a bit inflated. ( )
  evening | Nov 24, 2016 |
Silk - Alessandro Baricco
4 stars

This is a little gem of a book. It’s a fable for adults. I learned a little about 19th century silk production in France, and a bit about the politics of Japan’s isolation from the Western World. But, I felt like a child listening to the predictable, repetitive structures of a traditional tale. And, like a child, when I got to the end, I wanted to go back to the beginning and read it again. So, I did, several times.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
C'était bien écrit, engageant, et intéressant. Je m'attendais à quelque chose de plus qui semble manquer au récit. Il y avait une certaine froideur qui a fait que je n'ai ni ressenti ni été convaincue que les deux s'aimaient vraiment...
je dirais un rating de 3.5/5. ( )
  pathogenik | Feb 18, 2016 |
This is a jewel of a book. Poetic and sensual. A short novella. Very spare - hardly any descriptive details, but SOooo much is said! A love so intense it unhinges the mind is how the book was described and that is certainly true. So much is made of Herve’s love for the mysterious woman in Japan, but so little is said about Helene’s love for Herve --- just as passionate, just as intense, just as all-consuming. And her sacrifice is greater, I think.

Also saw the movie – gloriously filmed but the actor is miscast as Herve. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 12, 2016 |
softcover
132 pg

novella translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein.

delicate... translated with simplicity...subtle...thought provoking...obsessive...clandestine...deeply emotional
"woven like silk".... ( )
  pennsylady | Jan 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alessandro Bariccoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Canela, MercèTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goldstein, AnnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melander, VivecaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smits, ManonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Although his father had pictured for him a brilliant future in the army, Hervé Joncour ended up earning his crust in an unusual career which, by a singular piece of irony, was not unconnected with a charming side that bestowed on it a vaguely feminine intonation.
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Information from the Catalan Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Els productors de seda de Lavilledieu eren, qui més qui menys, gentilhomes, i mai no haurien pensat d'infringir cap de les lleis del seu país. La hipòtesi de fer-ho a l'altra part de món, però, els resultà raonablement sensata. (10)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307277976, Paperback)

The year is 1861. Hervé Joncour is a French merchant of silkworms, who combs the known world for their gemlike eggs. Then circumstances compel him to travel farther, beyond the edge of the known, to a country legendary for the quality of its silk and its hostility to foreigners: Japan.

There Joncour meets a woman. They do not touch; they do not even speak. And he cannot read the note she sends him until he has returned to his own country. But in the moment he does, Joncour is possessed.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:58 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In the late 1860s, when Japan is still closed to foreigners, Herve Joncour, a young French merchant, makes a series of clandestine journeys across Siberia to Japan, at first to purchase silkworm eggs, and later to pursue an affair with a Japanese nobleman's concubine.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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