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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  14,482 ratings  ·  1,071 reviews
When an epidemic threatens to destroy the silk trade in France, the young merchant Herve Joncour leaves his doting wife and his comfortable home in the small town of Lavilledieu and travels across Siberia to the other end of the world, to Japan, to obtain eggs for a fresh breeding of silk worms. It is the 1860s; Japan is closed to foreigners and this has to be a clandestin ...more
Paperback, 91 pages
Published August 25th 1998 by Vintage Books USA (first published 1996)
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Silk by Alessandro BariccoIt Happened in Boston? by Russell H. GreenanStormy Weather by Dermot DavisThe Passion by Jeanette WintersonThree Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome
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1st out of 144 books — 107 voters
The Notebook by Nicholas SparksThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanThe Devil Wears Prada by Lauren WeisbergerThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienStardust by Neil Gaiman
The MOVIE was BETTER than the BOOK
325th out of 788 books — 8,240 voters

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I never imagined I would like a book where the main character makes a living by buying silkworms. But I did. In fact, I not only liked it, I loved it. SILK is easily one of the top ten books I have read in the past eighteen months or so. It has a sparse writing style, and passages are repeated almost verbatim in no less than three different spots. The characters are there, fully realized, but at the same time, each character is a mystery or a ghost without definite shape. The prose is smooth, dr ...more
I previously promised to write a review only when I could locate my heart and my words. Three months later...


"Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road-- Only wakes upon the sea." -- Antonio Machado

The Spanish poet taught that paths exist to be trodden, but one needs to start walking in
Chiara Pagliochini
« Dicevano che era un truffatore. Dicevano che era un santo. Qualcuno diceva: ha qualcosa addosso, come una specie di infelicità. »

Ordine, prego! Silenzio in aula. Silenzio, prego (due colpi col martelletto).
La Corte di Giustizia si riunisce oggi per decretare l’assoluzione o la condanna a pena da stabilirsi per il signor Baricco Alessandro, classe 1958.
Tra i capi d’accusa imputati al signor Baricco, ricordiamo: “faciloneria”, “faccia da ruffiano”, “spocchia”, “ammiccamenti al lettore”, “egoce

This read was a nice break after reading long books. Silk reads like a gauzy flowing breeze. An almost fairy tale with the exotic as background and with travel and some suspense as some of its most palpable elements, it is a not an easy book to put down, precisely because it is so easy to read. The next short chapter with big print draws you immediately in until you suddenly reach the end. As a tale it also has an element of the oral tradition, with periodic repetitions to help its audience reme
"I never even heard her voice."
And after a while:
"It is a strange grief."
"To die of nostalgia for something you will never live."

I finished this in a matter of hours. My advice on this book would be: do not let that, nor its slim size, nor the whispering, simple voice that it adopts, fool you into thinking that it is insubstantial in any way. The end got to me even after my short acquaintance with the book. At times, it may feel as if you don't understand the significance of each passing
I found myself totally captivated by this odd yet hauntingly beautiful story of love. This short little book fills its pages with so much mystery, suspense and love that I found myself wanting to read it again and again, gaining more from it with each reading, yet never quite knowing it completely, never quite finding answers to my many questions, but able to accept that. I loved the author's use of repetition as emphasis as well as his sparse style of writing with prose that smoothly moves the ...more
Um homem num corrupio entre França e Japão para comercializar bichos-da-seda. É casado com uma mulher que ama, está apaixonado por outra que vive no Japão, e que não é japonesa, e dorme com uma oriental que a que não é oriental lhe "disponibiliza".
No final, temos uma cena de "erotismo contido" através da leitura de uma carta, lida por uma mulher a um homem que pensa ter sido escrita por uma e afinal foi escrita por outra.
Tudo isto e muito mais em 123 páginas, 65 capítulos e letra tamanho 20, n
Mohamed Al Marzooqi
قراءة هذه الرواية تشبه تمرير راحة اليد على قطعة قماش من الحرير؛ سينتابك شعور لذيذ وأناملك تنزلق على خيوط الحرير، سرعان ما سيختفي عندما تصل سريًعا، وبسبب النعومة الفائقة للحرير ، إلى نهاية القطعة!
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 12, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nenette; Rhys
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Must Read Books; Tata J
Shelves: 1001-core
What I liked most about this book is its story telling approach: direct, brief, concise without sacrificing the plot. It is as if you are reading a tragic love story that is told almost like a telegram. Okay, it is a bit exaggerated considering that this was originally written in Italian and published in 1958 but was translated into English in 1997. Which means that they could be somehow something that got lost in translation. I know a little of Italian, having finished my Basic Italian course l ...more
Carmo Santos
Segundo o autor, este livro não é um romance, nem um conto; é uma história; mas não é uma história comum, acrescento eu. Deve lêr-se como uma história de encantar, um conto das mil e uma noites, sem racionalizar ou tentar encontrar razoabilidade nas personagens e na ação. Sendo assim temos uma escrita leve e macia como a seda e uma história que fala de desejos, de sonhos e de amores - dolorosos, impossíveis e às vezes vividos intensamente.
"He wasn't much cut out for serious conversations. And a goodbye is a serious conversation."

OK, for 125 pages I'm reading this thinking, "three stars, nice little story, fast read; wish more novelists could tell a sweeping romantic adventure tale with such dispatch. Vivid, enjoyable, and even educational, but no great shakes."

And then I get to the end, and realize the power of the wife's desire. What she does. How he realizes what she did, and how she had felt. How she knew about his inner life,
Prestito di una prestigiosa docente universitaria l'ho letto con religiosa attenzione. E una volta finito mi sono chiesta se sono cretina io o Baricco è sopravvalutato. C'era bisogno di scrivere un libro incentrato sul manierismo geishizzante e sullo stupor occidentale davanti ai topoi della femminilità giapponese? Bastava un articolo di fondo se proprio se ne sentiva l'urgenza di parlarne.
Novela muy, muy breve, aquilatada al máximo, de gran profundidad, con muchos hilos abiertos... estupenda y con un gran recorrido. Más que leerla, la he bebido.
¡Qué triste es descubrir el amor después de haberlo perdido!
Samuel Ch.
Sep 26, 2011 Samuel Ch. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Samuel by: Turris
Shelves: biblioteca
Una historia elegante, delicada, sutil; como la seda misma. El texto encanta por la sobriedad de la narración, por su historia apasible de personajes serenos. Leer Seda es también tocar seda, es palpar la femeneidad a la distancia -la local y la extranjera-, es entrar en contacto con momentos de aire, momentos de levedad, momentos de seda.

La trama está tejida con el cuidado de una hilandería y la seriedad de un autor que sabe lo que hace. Su erotismo es exacto y el juego con la figura de la muje
Silk is the sort of novella-cum-folk tale for which you'd be doing yourself a great disservice to not read in one sitting. It's difficult for me to explain the appeal of novels like these (The Piano Tuner, The Painted Veil): 19th century white guy voyages into interior of the Orient and meets a mysterious woman. The whole plot smacks of the kind of fetishistic orientalism that I hate. And yet, with an tightly-wound economy that borders on poetry, Baricco distills the intensity and intoxication o ...more
Simona Bartolotta
E' uno strano dolore, morire di nostalgia per qualcosa che non vivrai mai.

Prima di questo ho letto "Oceano mare", libro che, devo ammettere, non ho apprezzato più tanto.
E inizio a pensare che il problema sia mio.
Dopo Seta, continuo imperterrita a non capire Baricco.
Lettura piacevole, per carità, ma non ti lascia nulla. Dicono che nei libri di Baricco non si deve prestare attenzione alla storia, ma a ciò che la storia vuole comunicare. Come la mettiamo se la storia non comunica niente?
Ti sciv
بثينة العيسى
هناك قصيدة في بطن كل حكاية. ما يفتننا في الحكاية أصلا هو تلك القصيدة الصغيرة المتكورة في بطنها، القصيدة التي تحتوي العالم كله، داخل بطنها أيضاً، العالم الذي يتشنج ويتكثف ويقذف في قلوبنا بغتة دون أن ننتبه.
رواية «حرير» لأليسندرو باريكو هي واحدة من تلك الأعمال التي تتحرك في جغرافيا وسيطة بين السرد والشعر، حيث الكلمة كائن حر يتأرجح بين العالمين الكتابيين الملتبسين، ثمة بساطة استثنائية ومباشرة في سرد الوقائع وتلاوة الأحداث، مثل قوله «هيلانة هو اسم زوجته، لم ينجبا أطفالاً»، وثمة غنائية واضحة في ترديد
Raül De Tena
Si hay algo que hay que destacar en Seda es la excelente economía de medios que Alessandro Baricco pone al servicio de una historia de juguete, frágil y bella como una figurilla de cristal. Es la historia de Hervé Joncour y su amor idealizado hacia alguien que no es nadie, sino más bien una idea del amor ideal, distante, sensual e inconcluso. Y, por lo tanto, un engaño que le aleja de la realidad y hace sufrir a quien tiene cerca, a quien le ama.

Seda no es más que un cuento, de tal forma que hay
I picked this book up in a second hand store because I liked the name and the cover.


There are stories that entertain, there are stories that make you think, there are stories that transport you to another time and place. And then there are stories that change you, even if only a little. Stories that open up some new way of thinking about life and relationships.

Silk does all the above and more. A love story that is both beautiful and tragic, sensual and sad, the narrative is told from the p
Alberto Schiariti
E' proprio "boh" la parola più adatta alla sensazione che mi ha lasciato questo libro. Leggere un libro di Baricco è un po' come giocare al Lotto. Io ho amato Novecento, ma comincio a sospettare che sia colpa della trasposizione cinematografica che ho visto prima di leggere il libro. Caso raro, ma il sospetto si insidia.

Seta è un libro in bilico tra la cagata e la poesia. Strana oscillazione, ma c'è da una parte una trama veramente molto povera e lineare, una quantità di pagine infima e una desc
Herve's life is told like poetry falling like rain. A quiet spectacle. Delicate and rich and silently stepping. And what is not said, but ultimately felt, is the tale of a heart in crisis. Herve's story is told, but you realize in the end that it's his wife's too. As one of the reviewers put it, it, "brings home how longing for things that can never be can obscure the things that are."

"It's a strange die of nostalgia for something you never lived."

My Interpretation (warning--spoiler)
A tale, but not a tale. A novel, but not a novel. A sad story, but not a sad story. A love story, but not a love story. Silk is everything summed up in a few lines. A masterpiece.
Keytrice Castro
I will admit Alessandro Baricco’s Silk is not a book I would typically choose to read myself, but in the need to read a book, I decided to look for a short book, and came across this lovely little thing. The book is about Herve Joncour's travels in search of silk worms that carry him around the world, but that isn’t the only way the title is tied into the story. Baricco style of writing is so fluid that if you could in fact read silk, this is what it would sound like. Italian is known for the be ...more
Ova mala knjižica čita se u jednom dahu, ali je puna emocija i osjećaja, kao divna pesma koja se čuje i nakon što muzika stane… Nije ni čudo, pošto je Baricco muzikolog, čak sam pročitala na jednom mestu da ovo delo podseća na muzičku formu koja se zove fuga, u kojoj se jedan motiv ponavlja sa malim varijacijama. Tako i u ovoj modernoj bajci, glavni lik ide u potrazi za larvama svilenih buba sredinom 19 veka čak u daleki Japan, putuje svake godine preko sedam mora i planina, granice, ruske stepe ...more
Angel Valenzuela
Este libro es poesia. El lenguaje es conciso, pero de una dulzura que pocas veces me ha atrapado en un libro. Alessandro Baricco maneja un estilo impecable, que prescinde de todo lo innecesario, entregando una lectura breve, pero sustanciosa. Maestro de una brevedad poética.

This book is sheer poetry. The language is concise, but gentle as few books I've ever read. Alessandro Baricco's style is impeccable, it lacks everything unnecessary, and delivers a brief but substantial reading. Baricco mast
مصطفي سليمان
رواية ساحرة
هادئة باسلوب رشيق
يجعلك مسحور مأخوذ بالبساطة
موضوع غريب
مع انه واقعي
عن صناعة الحرير
كمية الصور اللي بيرسمها بكلامه
والاحساس الدافي
وقصتين الحب
والعلاقات الهادئة
دافية لدرجة السحر
عجبتني قوي
هي فعلا زي الحرير

Compelling, sparse, and beautiful.

Sensual prose telling the story of a man who travels to Japan, then an exotic land, to purchase and smuggle silkworm for his village. There, he enters the house of a local nobleman sitting on the floor with nothing around but the still and obedient body of a woman "her head resting on his lap, eyes closed, arms hidden under a loose red robe that spread around her, like a flame". Herve sits opposite the man and, without noticing, lowers his gaze to hers. And beg
محمد الهجين
( ("-كسب إيرفي جونكور عيشة بفضل مهنة غريبة تتوافق مع ملامحه التي كانت جميلة إلى حد يشي بالأنوثة, فقد عمل في بيع وشراء ديدان القز, رغم أن والده توقع له مستقبلاً مشرقاً في سلك الجيش. حدث ذلك عام 1861 بينما فلوبير يكتب سالامبو في حين كان الضوء الكهربائي وقتذال فرضية لا أكثر, وفي الجهة الأخرى للمحيط كان ابراهام لنكولن يشن حرباً لم يشهد نهايتها. وقد بلغ إيرفي جونكور من العمر, في هذه الفترة, اثنين وثلاثين ربيعاً.
-عدت لوجه الكتاب رغم أنى كنت اود أن أدخل فى غياب لعدة أيام عن هذا المكان ، أفاوض
Serendipity is a beautiful word which describes exactly how this book came to be on my TBR and then subsequently came into my possession.....

Beautiful describes it's sparse, emotive prose which begs the question 'how can someone write something so beauitful and poigniant, so hauntingly sorrowful, using so few words, and convey exactly such intense, desire and longing in a few short sweet sentences? ohh this story has captivated me in its' simplicity. Such an elegant , sensuous piece of writing r
From what turned out to be a second reading
October 2012

A little book with lots of repetition, and near-repetition, that makes it more like a poem than a novel and makes me want to read it in the original to see how the cadences work in Italian.

I'm sure I've heard the story of a Frenchman who smuggled silkworm eggs before, but I can't remember where. (I had, and now know when and where!) Who knows, he may even have existed, but I'm too lazy to go Googling right now.

I enjoyed the unresolved myst
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Café Literario: Seda de Alessandro Baricco (Reseña) 1 8 Jun 30, 2014 03:50PM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: Silk 9 163 Jul 30, 2013 09:30AM  
Question about Silk 5 64 May 11, 2013 12:39PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect publishing date 3 53 Mar 25, 2013 03:39AM  
صدر حديثا - كتب و...: الحرير - أليساندرو باريكو 1 36 Oct 27, 2012 05:46PM  
Around the World ...: Chel recommends Silk 1 9 Jan 02, 2012 07:20PM  
Question: 2 56 Aug 30, 2008 06:01PM  
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Alessandro Baricco is a popular Italian writer, director and performer. His novels have been translated into a wide number of languages, and include Lands of Glass, Silk, Ocean Sea, City, and Without Blood. His theatrical monologue, Novecento, was adapted into film, titled The Legend of 1900.

He currently lives in Rome with his wife and two sons.
More about Alessandro Baricco...
Novecento. Un monologo Ocean Sea Castelli di rabbia Mr Gwyn City

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“إنه ألمٌ غـريب , أن تموت من الحنين لشـيء.. لم تعشـه أبداً” 148 likes
“It's a strange grief… to die of nostalgia for something you never lived.” 85 likes
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