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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  41,855 ratings  ·  3,362 reviews
El autor presentaba la edición italiana de este libro, que tuvo un éxito extraordinario, con estas palabras: Ésta no es una novela. Ni siquiera es un cuento. Ésta es una historia. Empieza con un hombre que atraviesa el mundo, y acaba con un lago que permanece inmóvil, en una jornada de viento. El hombre se llama Hervé Joncour. El lago, no se sabe. Se podría decir que es un ...more
Paperback, Compactos, 128 pages
Published May 2011 by Anagrama (first published 1996)
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Roven Abagat Joncour went to Japan to buy silkworm egg. His father is the mayor of the town where he came from. He already went to military but as time passed, he …moreJoncour went to Japan to buy silkworm egg. His father is the mayor of the town where he came from. He already went to military but as time passed, he was able to create a business out of silkworm eggs that was able to suffice the needs of his wife. Unfortunately, an epidemic spread through their land, which cause his bankruptcy and forced him to go overseas. He came from Rusia before he step in Japan. He met Hara Kei to buy eggs. Hara Kei wish to see him back to his land. Hara Kei said to him that the eggs that he is selling are eggs from the fish. Joncour said he know that. That’s why he paid with fake gold. He paid based on the price that Hara Kei gave. Hara Kei said if you leave here you will get what you want. Joncour said that if he leave in Kei’s island safely, he will receive the gold he deserve.(less)

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Average rating 3.85  · 
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Nicholas Sparks
This is another form of love story, one written in almost poetic form. It was a major world-wide bestseller years ago -- millions of copies -- and if you haven't had the chance to read it, you should do yourself a favor. It's short and poignant and beautiful, in every way. ...more
Jim Fonseca
A great historical novel focused on the production of silk in France around the time of the American Civil War. It’s a novella written in a lyrical style almost like a fable or even a fairy tale. You can read its 90 pages – 65 chapters - in a sitting.


The local silkworms catch a disease, so a young merchant is paid by the townsmen to leave his loving wife to go purchase larvae eggs from Japan. He travels across Europe and Siberia by train and horse and then by ship to Japan. Japan is still close
May 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
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
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Mar 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
"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 have a tendency to picking up doom and gloom books. But not this time, not this time. Silk evoked images of distant Japan and the girl which eyes did not have an oriental slant ; elicited thoughts about things that couldn't happen and made me ponder over pain of longing and power of patience. Beguiled me with its ephemeral beauty and deceptive simplicity and I’m not even sure what it was. Was it a fable with its repetitive phrases and unreal aura? Was it a parable of human life with all i
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

It was 1861. Flaubert was writing Salammbo, electric light was still a hypothesis and Abraham Lincoln, on the other side of the ocean, was fighting a war whose end he would not see.
Herve Joncour was thirty-two years old.
He bought and sold.

Whimsical, ethereal, like air between your fingers, shimmering light reflected in the still waters of a lake at the end of the world, the flight path of a blue crane across a cloudless sky : Silk

I don't want to write a long review, scrutinizing the
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Adina by: Gabriela

I read this in almost one seating while waiting at the hairdresser. A much better choice than the gossip magazines that were scattered around the place.

I enjoyed the book but I have a problem with short novels/novellas. I cannot seem to be able to be as moved by shorter stories as by bigger volumes. There are only a few exceptions: Animal Farm, Slaughterhouse 5. I remember that at one point in my life I was only reading books over 500 pages. I prefer them because you have time to know bett
Oct 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, favourites
"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."

I had heard so much praise about this little book: after spending a snowy morning in reading it, I have to confess I feel underwhelmed.

The beauty of the language is undeniable. It was originally written in Italian: I read a French translation, and the delicate rhythm of the sentences is quite lovely. The use of repetition obviously tries to make the narrative poetic and dream-like, and it succeeds... up to a point.

To be honest, I found it a wee bit cliché: in 1860, a French silk worm merchant tr
Ahmad Sharabiani
Soie = Seta = Silk, Alessandro Baricco
Silk (Italian: Seta) is a 1996 novel by the Italian writer Alessandro Baricco. It was translated into English in 1997 by Guido Waldman. A new English translation by Ann Goldstein was published in 2006. The novel tells the story of a French silkworm merchant-turned-smuggler named Hervé Joncour in 19th century France who travels to Japan for his town's supply of silkworms after a disease wipes out their African supply. His first trip to Japan takes place in th
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"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,
Steven Godin
When I first heard this was about the silk trade and set in the mid 19th century I imagined it to be a sweeping historical epic about 800 pages long. So when I found out it is in fact a skinny little novel I was a bit surprised. And even more surprised when I discovered some of the pages featured half a page of text or less. Strange. I easily read this in one go and found part of the problem was the lack of depth with it being so short. For example, when the French merchant Herve Joncour goes on ...more
A novella translated from Italian in abrupt sentences, with a degree of repetition that makes it a little like a poetic fairy tale. Charming and beautiful, but in a very obvious way.
A great example of how much can be achieved in a spare novella. This is only about 100 pages, with not all that many words on each page, yet Baricco covers 35 years and a whole range of experiences and emotional states. The main action is set between 1861 and 1874, as French merchant Hervé Joncour makes four journeys to and from Japan to acquire silkworms. “This place, Japan, where precisely is it?” he asked before his first trip. “Just keep going. Right to the end of the world,” Baldabiou, the ...more
Lynne King
Although his father had pictured for him a brilliant future in the army, Hervé Joncour had 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.

Hervé Joncour bought and sold silkworms for a living. The year was 1861. Flaubert was writing Salammbo, electric light remained hypothetical, and Abraham Lincoln, beyond the Ocean, was fighting a war of which he was not to see
Oct 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a story rather unlike what I usually read. Still, it was a very interesting read.

There is something fairy-tale, even dreamlike about this short story. All events are real and unreal at the same time. It gives a very interesting impression. The author's language is very lyrical, which further enhances the fairy-tale character of this story. The whole thing creates an amazing effect.

From time to time I like to read something outside my zone, and this was a very interesting trip into the dr
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
The minute strands of silk weave themselves amongst our lives, betwixt day and night.
We ache and breathe endlessly, yearning for that love, that love, that tempest of emotions that we cannot fathom nor control within ourselves.
Those words that are etched on paper are not always what they seem from whom they seem.
That same heart that grasped what he thought he felt, has been mistaken; an unspoken misery has befell this man with the demise of what he really wanted.
All She wanted was to be loved.
Samidha; समिधा
This was the best book I've read in my entire life. It's only 60 paragraphs but it talked to me on so many levels.
Phenomenal writing and phenomenal work.
And just sixty paragraphs. Damn.
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
Aug 08, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001
Baricco is Paolo Coelho's italian doppelganger. Where one purveys phony mysticism, the other deals in equally phony romanticism. That's just about the only difference. Luckily, the book is 57 pages long, barely qualifying as a novella. ...more
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 100 pages story of M. Joncour, a married silkworm merchant who corresponds with a Japanese concubine.

There is a passage at the end of the book when M. Joncour is read the last letter from the lady...
What an sensual blast... These pages are blazing-hot, and I mean it.
The final twist is to be regarded as a thing of beauty.

Matching soundtrack :
Predator - Front Line Assembly


L'histoire de M. Joncour, éleveur de vers à soie français et de sa relation longue distance
Joncour takes journeys to the East in search of silk unaware that the inner journeys will overwhelm his physical travel. This is a brief enigmatic story set in the 1860s when such travel was unusual and encounters with the "Orient" were still rare.

More erotic by implication, Baricco manages to keep our interest in characters that are more impressions than substance. A deft touch.
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Czarny Pies
Oct 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a completely unrealistic plot which is good. There was nothing realistic about Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Beowulf or most other works of literature. In school, it was explained that the successful reader had to be able to suspend his or her disbelief.

The problem is that Silk has to be coherent account according to the rules of its own alternate world which it is not. Many people fall in love with an inaccessible person. The writer always has to explain how the deluded lover c
“Perhaps sometimes life shows you a side of itself which leaves you with nothing more to say.”

Wonderful story, exquisitely created atmosphere, amazing writing style. I'll watch the movie, too, some time.

Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like hearing a beautiful note from a Japanese flute, airy and beautiful; and which vibrates the fibers of your being, probing your pulse to dance with relaxing exhilaration.

4 stars on 5!
Dhanaraj Rajan
Just now finished reading it and I wanted to write a terrific review for the work.
But then I now realise that I lack words to describe my sentiments regarding the novel.
Is it a love story? Is it a story on a desire that is unfulfilled? Is it a story on obsession? Is it a story on silk? The novel might answer positively to everything and still something would be lacking in it.
At times, you look at a person and immediately you fall in love with that person or in a moment you begin to like a perso
Novella length, but quite a lot of emotion is packed within the pages. In the late 1800's a Frenchman travels to Japan to buy silkworm eggs to keep his trade alive. A story of love, obsession, and communication, a touch of mystery.

Well written about a fascinating subject.
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Ile's Cafè Club d...: Seta 2 6 Dec 09, 2020 12:08AM  
Goodreads Librari...: please add page # 2 9 Sep 14, 2020 01:09PM  
Reading 1001: Silk - Alessandro Baricco 2 12 Oct 05, 2019 01:09PM  
Café Literario: Seda de Alessandro Baricco (Reseña) 2 43 Nov 19, 2016 03:53AM  
Boxall's 1001 Bo...: Silk 10 275 May 30, 2016 12:11PM  
Question about Silk 5 135 May 11, 2013 12:39PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect publishing date 3 59 Mar 25, 2013 03:39AM  

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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.

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