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Silk Road

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3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  164 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
SILK ROAD takes you into the golden age of China's multi-cultural Tang dynasty. Aided by ghosts, goddesses, dragons, and her own determination, the heroine becomes a courtesan, a musician, a runaway, a wandering swordswoman, a poet, and more.

"Larsen has used a dazzling diversity of prose styles to adroitly demonstrate how history is transmuted through the centuries into so

...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published July 8th 1990 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 1989)
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Community Reviews

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Ryan Hyde
Jan 18, 2016 Ryan Hyde rated it it was amazing
If you've ever been interested in Chinese mythology, this is the book to read. This book follows one female character, who has many names, through a life that leads her from one celestial world, through our world, and eventually to another. Every chapter is something different, and every story in it is enthralling. The fact that this isn't a more popular and talked about book is mind boggling to me.
Edward Butler
Feb 23, 2010 Edward Butler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A neglected classic, especially recommended to any who have enjoyed the Feng-Shen Yen-I and wished for a modern novel, with more modern narrative sensibilities, but possessed of the same imaginative breadth.
Stef
Nov 15, 2009 Stef rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Silk Road is a beautifully written, richly descriptive, meandering story of a young woman who is trying to find her family and who, along the way, finds her own power. It weaves together history, story, mythology, and poetry. Interspersed with the story (the chapters named "Parrot Speaks") are a number of fragmentary 8th-century Chinese texts, translated by the author, along with prose poems that address the reader directly.

The story itself and its writing style kinda scratched the same itch for
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Bea
Dec 31, 2010 Bea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book! Writing style was unique (at least to me) but lent itself well to this book. Thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the tales.
Jane
Dec 16, 2008 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it, the fantasy like reality of China.
Jodi
Nov 23, 2009 Jodi rated it it was ok
I don't get it. Had to look up 'official' reviews after I read this book. All discuss how beautifully written it is, poetic, and irresistible. I'll agree that it was beautifully written, but the schizophrenic feel to it really put me off. Stuck with it for all the 434 pages but it was weird. Was it a fantasy based on Chinese mythology, a fiction book about a character’s life or an informative book about Chinese culture and history?
My biggest issue is that if relationships are key, then the peopl
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Demetrius
May 04, 2009 Demetrius rated it it was amazing
Usually when I read a book, it takes me a while to get in the proper mind set for reading. However, with this book I feel like it automatically draws me in and I never have to worry about not feeling like reading it.
EK G
Nov 18, 2008 EK G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Always a good read! I've read this book about 8 times now, picking it up once a year just because. A fantastic blend of mysticism, fantasy, gender play and lush Orientalism that is never overdone or pretentious.
Mercedes Goldberg
Feb 16, 2008 Mercedes Goldberg rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who loves asian history
I really enjoyed this book, totally captured another time, place both on earth and in heaven, merging the two together so beautifully, it is a book that I continue to remember as there are not very many books like this - unique, original and memorable
Kelly Pow
Aug 03, 2011 Kelly Pow rated it really liked it
enjoyable...very imaginative
Melissa
Jul 24, 2008 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
My college professor.
Jane Mettee
Nov 27, 2016 Jane Mettee rated it really liked it
An amazing and complex story. In Joseph's Campbell's mythology, a true hero's journey.The author intertwines, multiple levels of creatures, earth beings, celestial beings, sea people, dragons, the goddess and a hungry ghost. Many beings shift into other forms. The hero has multiple names as she moves from one level to another in search of her mother. Poems and ancient Chinese legends are interwoven between chapters.
Kathy Turner
Silk Road is indeed a magical tale of the orient. It is also a wondrously prodigiously imaginative work of fantasy, fiction, and history.

Jeanne Larsen, herself a Chinese scholar and poet tells the tale of a young girl, most often known as Parrot. It begins with Parrot stolen and sold as a slave. In following the path before her, as well as the path drawn by her longing to meet her mother, Parrot becomes an educated lute player and mistress of seduction as a concubine, an itinerant hustler dresse
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Stephanie M
Feb 09, 2016 Stephanie M rated it liked it
Greenpearl, daughter of a Chinese general, is abducted and sold into slavery while still only a child. She never forgets the family she came from, however, and is determined to find her way back to her mother and rescue her from captivity in the Dragon Monarch's realm. Greenpearl travels across China, assuming many different names and roles, becoming a courtesan, a warrior, and a poet. Her progress is watched closely by various gods, who have taken a special interest in her plight and help or ...more
Lady Rfc
Mar 04, 2014 Lady Rfc rated it liked it
I really wish I could give this book more stars as I, oddly enough, liked a great bulk of it. Not really because I approved of many of the strange ideas the main character and her companions had and what they did (some messed up people in this book, just saying), but because they were frightening real at times. The main character goes through some serious hardship. She's sold off into prostitution, forced to miscarry, abused, abandoned... it just plain sucks to be her, but she keeps her head up. ...more
Angela
Oct 17, 2015 Angela rated it liked it
I was never really comfortable with the fantasy aspect of this book, for some reason I kept expecting it to be a normal historical drama. Therefore, whenever the viewpoint became magical, I would get a little frustrated.

For some reason, I never really caught on to the main character. She was supposed to be on this epic quest to free her mother, but I felt like she didn't know about her journey, or didn't care.
Andrea
Apr 07, 2016 Andrea rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book which reminded me of Barry Hughart's excellent Chronicles of Number Ten Ox and Master Li. Complex heirarchies of gods, impossible quests, inkstones, seduction, aspirations to holiness, journeys across forbidding and uncomfortable landscapes, what is not to love? The narrative style is self-aware and will please those who enjoy post modern multi layered texts, but the story can be enjoyed without needing to know much about this.
Norman Howe
May 22, 2015 Norman Howe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I loved this! It started out as a historical novel"," with the ghosts"," dragons"," and gods of Chinese mythology acting in the background"," and"," about two thirds of the way through"," morphed into a full-blown fantasy adventure.
Tori
I got about halway through the book and decided that perhaps I'd placed a little too much faith in it. It's not a terrible book, please don't misunderstand; it just wasn't something that could hold my interest long enough for me to finish it. I had a similar problem with the Twilight series. lol
James Doto
Mar 19, 2014 James Doto rated it it was ok
One of the blandest books I've ever read.... nothing seemed to happen at all, ever. I had to give up halfway through or I would have gone insane
Kathryn
Nov 19, 2015 Kathryn rated it liked it
This was a very interesting book, but the reason I gave it 3 stars is because I found parts of it hard to follow. But the concept was great and the writing was beautiful.
Brian R. Mcdonald
The main character is a go stone, from a game between two gods, who has been magically turned into a human being to wander through our world.
Iman Jafar
Iman Jafar rated it liked it
Jan 03, 2016
Jennifer Mcdonald
Jennifer Mcdonald rated it really liked it
Nov 05, 2011
Annie
Annie rated it liked it
May 04, 2012
Lexie
Lexie rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2007
Susan
Susan rated it really liked it
Sep 26, 2014
Robin
Robin rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2011
Jen
Jen rated it it was amazing
Aug 18, 2008
Molly
Molly rated it liked it
Nov 18, 2012
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