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Silk by Alessandro Baricco

Silk (original 1996; edition 1997)

by Alessandro Baricco, Guido Waldman (Translator)

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2,9631261,934 (3.8)206
Authors:Alessandro Baricco
Other authors:Guido Waldman (Translator)
Info:The Harvill Press (1997), Editie: New edition, Hardcover, 96 pagina's
Collections:Your library

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Silk by Alessandro Barrico (1996)


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» See also 206 mentions

English (84)  Spanish (17)  French (7)  Italian (6)  Dutch (5)  Catalan (4)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  All (126)
Showing 1-5 of 84 (next | show all)
What a gorgeous little book this is! It is only 91 pages and most of those pages are not completely filled because each new chapter starts on a new page. I read most of it while sitting in the Assiniboine Park conservatory surrounded by lush vegetation and beautiful flowers. Truly a perfect setting for a lush and beautiful book.

At the core this is a love story but there is also a mystery and a travelogue and history worked into it. Herve Joncour lives in a small town known for weaving silk. He provides the silk worms that produce the silk thread for the mills. When he first started he was able to travel to around the Mediterranean for the silk worms. Then those places started having epidemics that killed the worms so he had to travel to Syria and Egypt. The time came when those worms were also infected. In order to get untouched eggs Joncour took the long road to Japan which was just starting to open its doors to westerners. In Japan he met a silk worm merchant who had a non-Oriental woman as a companion. Joncour could not speak Japanese and the woman spoke only Japanese but they managed to convey their feelings of love to each other. Four times Joncour went to Japan and saw the lady but they never touched each other.

Who was this woman? We never find out. And that's just one of the mysteries. ( )
  gypsysmom | May 30, 2017 |
Easily the most affecting novel (novela) I've read in years. Baricco's meditations on yearning, desire, and love are poetic. They words are romantic. The story is addicting. Notions of truth and devotion are conveyed in more subtle ways. I am less clear how to understand those thoughts as told. But at roughly 100 pages in length and having thoroughly enjoyed the romance and flow of both the language and story, I feel certain I will read this again. Perhaps, again and again. This is a beautifully told story. Recommended. ( )
  bikesandbooks | Jan 29, 2017 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alessandro Barricoprimary 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.
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)

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