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Silk (Silk #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,764 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
They are the young misfits...society's castoffs...urban strays looking for a thrill. Something cheap, anything to get them through the night. Sleepwalking on caffeine, nicotine, and drugs, they wait out the dawn in death-rock clubs and shadowy back alleys...

Then into their midst comes the enigmatic Spyder. A patron saint of the alienated and lost, she invites them into h
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by Roc Trade (first published June 1st 1998)
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Jul 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who are really fucking scared of spiders; horror fans; goths and punks; druggies with brains
"Silk" is a strong, beautifully written effort, featuring one of the most realistic portrayals of the gothic subculture and the surrounding punk/metal/industrial/etc. subcultures--there are many overlaps, and the book understands this--that I've read in a novel. The characters are interesting and likable, and the book takes its time, letting you get to know them before anything supernatural happens. When the supernatural finally does hit, it's creepy as hell. The attacks start feeling quite repe ...more
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
Disclaimer: GIF use. :D And bad language. I curse like a sailor most of the time in real life. lol

I loved this book so fucking much. I want to own this, but luckily my friend is only getting it back next time she comes over, so I might get to read it again. This book was very much poppy z brite-esque which I adored, so if you liked poppy's writing, than I think you'd like this one too.

This is how I feel right now.
May 09, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is copy 113 of 450 signed numbered copies.
May 03, 2007 rated it did not like it
Poorly written, with a barely coherent and hardly discernible plot. Caitlin Kiernan throws together a group of misfit outsider characters who do nothing but drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, and toss off the names of the cool bands to whom they listen. In more capable hands, I'd probably like it. In her hands, ugh.
J. Moufawad-Paul
May 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm reviewing this book late, about a decade after I first read it, but I recall my distaste for this book enough that, in comparison to my love for some of Kiernan's later books, demands some sort of review for some of those who have read *Silk* and, because of this experience, are not interested in reading anything else.

This book reads like the fictional equivalent of white goth/punk kids in highschool who think they're hard done by, despite the fact that their parents are wealthy and privileg
Roxanne Crouse
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you are a writer and you want to become a better writer, I recommend you read silk. Caitlín R. Kiernan's style of writing is amazing. Her descriptions are rich and her metaphors and similes are like none you've ever read before.

Here is what the book is about written by Publisher's Weekly: there's nothing smooth or sexy about this skin-crawling debut from Kiernan, an author with one helluvan imagination and a startling lack of inhibition. At the center of this modern gothic horror story is Spy
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
This was actually a reread, though I can't remember when I first read it (before I started cataloguing properly on Goodreads).

Kiernan's work has gotten stronger with every book, and there's a scatteredness, as well as a kind of emotional distance, in this novel that isn't there in her later works (The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl in particular, which are both masterpieces).

But don't let that make you think that this is a weak book, because it isn't (see the five star rating). There is such a s
Carolee Wheeler
Sep 07, 2010 rated it liked it
well-written, but after a while I lost interest in the tangledness of gothic girrrrrrls with prrrrroblems and darrrrrk histories.
Goth girl's traumatic childhood of abuse may or may not be manifesting itself in menacing supernatural form to both herself and her circle of followers & hangers-on in this intense, arty, way-goth 1997 novel. Kiernan is very talented and her imagery burns with a unique energy, often (grotesquely) beautiful. The supernatural aspects are handled through psychological means, flowing from character, avoiding the obvious terror novel tropes that we've all encountered a zillion times before. The b ...more
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own-and-read, loved, 1990s

I loved down-spiraling into this storyline. There was never a dull moment, and it was packed to the brim with awesome music references that I insisted upon playing in the background as a soundtrack.
I was immediately thrown headfirst into 90's, when I was a mere juvenile delinquent- a Guinea pig of antidepressants and adhd meds, surrounded by misfits. The scent of body odor and stale smoke and dirt surrounded me as I continued on along this “journey”. This is more than a story for me, it was a jo
Oct 29, 2010 rated it liked it
It's been a while since I read a horror novel that actually added something new to the genre. Caitlin Kiernan's book Silk blew in like a breath of fresh air. While there were one or two spots where I found myself getting a little bored, they didn't last for very long! I really enjoyed how real her characters seemed & how much I liked them (even as unsympathetic as some of them are).

Would I recommend this to a friend? Oh heck yeah! It's a horror novel that doesn't try to out-spook the genre
DeAnna Knippling
I couldn't get deeply into this; I pushed through but skimmed a bunch. It felt packed with name-dropping from the early 90s (Will we have a Sisters of Mercy referenc? We will) and had characters that acted like dolls.

On the other hand, neat idea. Which I won't spoil here.

Thin along the suspension of disbelief front--an early book for the writer, I think her first. If you're into Poppy Z Brite this is similar (although I like PZB's book better).
Jared Millet
Apr 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Silk is a creepy character-driven horror novel that's been sitting on my to-read shelf for about a decade. The characters are vividly drawn, and their downtrodden lives are not sugar-coated in any way. The supernatural element in the book is so subtle that at first it's easy to believe that the horror exists only in the characters' imaginations. Even at the end, it's not made manifestly clear what was going on, but that helps the book's final scenes linger in your mind well after it's over.
J. Libby
In praise of Silk, Neil Gaiman described Caitlin Kiernan as "the poet and bard of the wasted and the lost." Having managed to read four of her six novels, I totally agree. She is one of the most brilliant and exciting writers that I've come across in recent memory. Her writing is meticulous and evocative, lush and insanely atmospheric. A few years ago, after reading my first Caitlin Kiernan book (Murder of Angels) I ordered all of her books via inter-library loan. When they arrived, I was very e ...more
Timothy Villa
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you pick up Silk by Caitlin R. Kiernan and read the back, be forewarned that what little the description tells you is in many ways very misleading. It's not inaccurate so much as it doesn't give you a real feel for what the book is and how it feels.

With that said, if you are a fan of horror that has a foot in Lovecraft and isn't always as scary as it is unnerving, then I'd say that this book might appeal to you. I really enjoyed it, reading it fast (faster than the last few books I've read I
Alison Young
Apr 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who is into this kind of stuff
Shelves: fantasy
Silk by Caitlin R. Kiernan is written out like a spiderweb, so many characters and so many things going on, that it's all so dizzying when you first read it.

It's a Lovecraftian-like story done perfectly. Caitlin R. Keirnan, you can tell, loves words and creates such a wildfire with them, bordering on the poetic side.

"Spyder opened her mouth, bloodsmear-ringed like smudged lipstick or the candy-apple halo around a little girl's mouth, and caught a single flake on her outstretched tongue. It ling
Silk is Caitlin R. Kiernan's debut novel.

Kiernan is a truly talented writer, I've greatly enjoyed her metaphorical and often poetic style. Her depiction of a ragtag of fringe characters entrenched in the punk and goth subcultures screamed of real-life experiences. There's that stamp of authenticity lending credibility to the characters, settings and overall atmosphere (whether real or imagined on my part).

On the other hand, this novel fails so utterly in its fantasy/horror elements. The plot is
Phil Tucker
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Caitlin R. Kiernan's first book stopped me in my tracks and made me slow down and pay attention. The prose is luscious, gothic almost, filled with raw, intense metaphors and a power that moves you forward through the plot with the same inexorable pull of a great river. While this is at heart a tale of the weird and macabre, what truly hooked me was the characters, each unique and compelling. The cast is one of misfits and drop outs, drug users and loners, but as a collective whole they grabbed m ...more
Dec 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-horror
I was morbidly fascinated by these dark, troubled characters and by their environment, which was equally gritty and broken down. Part of my interest in them (and in Spyder, in particular) was with trying to figure out if the things they were seeing were real, or just a product of their abuse-driven imaginations.

I think I was absorbed with the book - up until just short of the end, where, I felt, it cut off abruptly and then left me hanging out there with a bunch of questions still in my head. N
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
The only reason is this book merits 4 stars--and not five--is that the style of it echoes more conventional horror styles in most places. I prefer Kiernan's current style, which really stands out, in the novels I've read, beginning with "A Daughter of Hounds."

What does work here, again for me, are the complex characters, some imperfect, true; but she argues well your understanding of all of them, and spends a large amount of her time creating them so that the books focus less on the horror and
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. The author has a very original style--her prose is vivid, beautiful, and frightening. This is actually the book that kindled my interest in tarantulas and I love how she references Rainer Foelix's "Biology of Spiders" at the beginning of each section of the story. Kiernan is one of the few contemporary horror authors out there with something original and striking to offer fans of the genre.
Apr 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2008, sf-f
The atmosphere of the novel was very well-written, and the characters, while being a bit "central casting" for a particular lifestyle, did seem real and believable. But the ending felt a bit too jagged. I have no problem with endings that aren't all sewn up, but something didn't quite hold together at the end. That may have been the point, though.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Not half as good as I wanted it to be. Possibly I had set my expectations too high based on her later work, but Caitlin Kiernan's first novel, an ensemble piece, is much more wobbly. Although, I will say, it included some of the best and most accurate descriptions of coffee-making, and of garage music, I've ever read.
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dark-fantasy
not my cuppa. A little too anxty. Self absorbed. Im not young enough to enjoy the pov.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
There's a reason this took more than a month to read.

This. Was. Painful. Not "the emotional depth and characterization of the story and its fearless, head-on, grappling with the difficult and nuanced topics of sexual abuse and mental illness made it difficult to process" that would have been OK. Rather, this is a 400 page slog through every literary and social cliche. I would suggest it as fantastic for the middle-school-angst set, but that it deals so clumsily with issues of rape, suicide, and
James Ranger
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Caitlin's best novel. Though she will write all over the place that The Drowning Girl is her best work but she is wrong. Silk is when she knew how to write and use her imagination. The Drowning Girl is dumb rambling, she should have just called in non-fiction.

Read Silk if you want to know the real CRK
Jim Short
Nov 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Abandoning this book. I simply cannot find anything to attract my attention and make me WANT to read this. The characters are unappealing and directionless. The story itself seems to have no point to and is simply wandering all over leaving no trace of a plot.
Lloyd Calvin
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As always, Ms. Kiernan delivers otherworldy suspense and shivers. One of the best in the Horror genre.
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
I really wanted to love this book because of Kiernan's writing style after reading the first chapter. I really wanted to love this book for its promised character interactions and in depth story arch. In the end though, I am not sure what I got with this book and have a lot of questions about what the hell happened.

Kiernan's writing is beautiful.

She comes up with some of the most beautiful (or haunting) descriptions to various things within this novel. There are images that she paints with her
The author clearly loves language, and loves descriptions and every reader who loves those too will enjoy Silk immensely. It is a first novel, so there is some tendency to overindulge herself – there is hardly a sentence here that does not contain at least one metaphor or two similes, but Caitlín Kiernan’s prose is so luscious and sensuous that complaining about this in the face of so much too enjoy would seem rather petty.

Kiernan is usually classified as an author of horror fiction, and for goo
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Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (born 26 May 1964) is the author of science fiction and dark fantasy works, including ten novels; many comic books; and more than two hundred published short stories, novellas, and vignettes. She is also the author of scientific papers in the field of paleontology.

(from Wikipedia)
More about Caitlín R. Kiernan...

Other Books in the Series

Silk (2 books)
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