Silk by Alessandro Baricco

About the book

France, 1861. When an epidemic threatens to wipe out the silk trade in France, Herve Joncour (a young silkworm breeder) has to travel overland to distant Japan, out of bounds to foreigners, to smuggle out healthy silkworms. In the course of his secret negotiations with the local baron, Joncour’s attention is arrested by the man’s concubine, a girl who does not have oriental eyes. Although they are unable to exchange so much as a word, love blossoms between them, a love that is conveyed in a number of recondite messages. How their secret affair develops is told in this remarkable love story.

Reviewed by Blackwater Valley U3A Reading Group:

Generally, this book was enjoyed by the group. We thought it was quite poetic and the subject (silk) was interesting but we were not sure that it was a love story – more an infatuation.

Star rating: ***

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6 thoughts on “Silk by Alessandro Baricco”

  1. Review Shipton Bellinger WI Reading Group:
    A gem of a book. It reads like a beautiful but haunting poem. Not to be missed.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by North Baddesley WI Reading Group 2 Reading Group:
    Mysterious and haunting. Good description of another age. Some of the chapters were short and left us guessing. We were surprised to find it was written by a male!
    Star rating: ***

  3. Review by Lee Reading group
    A beautifully written novel almost poetic in style. Great images created by few words.
    148 pages long but packed with historical facts re. silk trade, Japan and 19th century travel. Quite erotic but beautifully written.
    Rating: ****

  4. Review by Novel Characters
    Pretentious. Interesting but no substance. Surprised a rave reviews.
    Disappointing and “a waste of time reading it” for some readers. Too short!
    Star rating: *

  5. Review by Everton Reading Group
    A strange, unsatisfying book, perhaps a lot lost in translation. Weird punctuation and no one liked the repetition of the description of his journey. We didn’t really “get” this book at all!
    Star rating: *

  6. Review by Sheet WI
    Not sure of the value of reading this – it was so short with no character development and very little plot.
    Star rating: none given

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