Monday 28 July 2008

Book Review: Alessandro Baricco –Silk

A very short book at 148 sparsely written pages, I read this in one day on the bus and in between chores at home.

This is the story of a nineteenth century French silkworm trader and his travels between France and Japan, then described as the end of the world. It is also the story of his journey between his wife "with a voice like velvet" and the strange mute concubine "without oriental eyes" he meets in Japan. The kind of romantic themes I usually avoid, but this books intensity and descriptions of exotic birds, Japan’s forest’s and unusual people arrested me.

This is a beautifully written book, although highly stylised (I found this even more surprising as it is a translation from the original Italian by Ann Goldstein). It’s the kind of book that I would normally label pretentious, but this writer gets away with this style because of the beauty of his words and the fact that this is actually a hauntingly lovely story.

Towards the end, the style of the story was such that I knew there had to be a revelation. What I found was that I put this book down at its end somewhat unsatisfied and with a longing for a different kind of ending, but also a longing to know more.


  1. A great italian writer from North of Italy.
    Love it!
    Jazak'Allahu kheir for sharing one of his books. One of his most famous book is 'Omero, Iliade'
    but i haven't read 'Seta (Silk)' yet.

  2. i read this book, tis quite surreal cos its a bit vague and poetic. not bad though

  3. Assalam-alaikam Sister Muslimah,
    you read it in Italian? If that's the case I'm very impressed. I haven't seen Omero, Iliade, but I htink it would be my kind of book.

    Hey kooks,
    I enjoyed it too.