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Silk by Alessandro Baricco

Silk (1996)

by Alessandro Baricco

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,1551282,515 (3.8)216
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» See also 216 mentions

English (85)  Spanish (17)  French (7)  Italian (6)  Dutch (5)  Catalan (4)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
Delicioso. Ese es el calificativo que me inspiró esta breve novela de Baricco. Se lee de un tirón pero se disfruta enormemente cada minúsculo capítulo. Todo dentro de ella es suave y terso, las oraciones y las palabras fluyen como... sí, como seda. Hay que dejarse sumergir en el espacio y tiempo que te propone y de pronto te encontrarás acariciado por ese mundo. Pocas veces experimenté una experiencia tan sensual leyendo un libro. Muy recomendado. ( )
  andresborja42 | Mar 24, 2018 |
This is a tiny jewel of a novel and, like a jewel, I felt that it deserves to be looked at for longer than it’s size perhaps might initially indicate. I certainly spent longer looking at it than I might otherwise have done, my ex-wife having gone off with my copy prior to our split.

Eventually, I got it back from her and managed to finish it off. This meant I read it in two sittings, one either side of my divorce which, considering the subject matter, was somewhat ironic. Silk, you see, tells the story of unrequited love within a marriage, something that is sadly all too common an occurrence.

The writing is beautiful and brilliantly paced. It is simple and yet deep, and through it all Baricco lends everyday life a melancholic pathos that belies the depths of desire that each of us have. The tragedy of the novel, and unrequited love, is that a partner can remain blind to them while pursuing the fulfilment on their own desires beyond the relationship.

Baricco uses geography as the medium for this metaphor, with the protagonist Hervé Joncour travelling thousands of miles to Japan in search of silkworms from his native France. But Joncour discovers more than silkworms in the orient and returns many times in pursuit of something more, something which continually eludes him.

This is a sad and poignant novel which, if read carefully, serves as a warning not to spend so long gazing for fantasies beyond the horizons of our lives that we overlook those within arms’ reach. You’ll probably think nothing much of this beyond the beautiful writing style until you get to the end.

If it doesn’t hit you then, you’re not ready for this novel. Shelve it and come back to it when life’s dealt you a few blows. ( )
  arukiyomi | Mar 9, 2018 |
Rather depressing, but very well written. Reminds me obstrusely of Melville's 'bartleby the scrivener'. ( )
  soradsauce | Nov 17, 2017 |
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 |
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» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Baricco, AlessandroAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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)

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