Golden Library – SILK by Alessandro Baricco

Golden Library – SILK by Alessandro Baricco


Title of the book: Silk

Author: Alessandro Baricco

Published in English in October 1997

Of course, there is already a film made, of the same name, but nothing can compare to the intimacy that weaves between you and a book like Silk.

What is surprising at a first glance? With most chapters being just one, maybe two pages long, and some consisting of just one or two phrases, the story seems tailor-made for readers who want to penetrate right away the meaning beyond the pages of this novel.

But those who gallop through the narrative to quickly understand what is happening will not receive what they hope for. Alessandro Baricco manages, in a world and a time that turned their faces away from poetry, to synthesize soul intensities and narratives difficult to imagine. Like a haiku, each chapter says a lot in very few words, and all 65 make up a ravishingly sensual miniature.

A man who ends up doing an unusual trade in silkworms, several trips to the mysterious lands of nineteenth-century Japan, an inaccessible woman who ignites his dreams and a wife he thinks he knows everything about, but whom he is proven to know less than the stranger he feel in love with.

The story explores the inner journey of the characters, taking us on a clear road, in which the silk symbolizes that which slides between the fingers, the trembling invisible, which leaves its mark forever.

Although it is more than a memorable love story, the book does not ask the big questions, the narrator remains a witness who refrains from interpretations, the characters allow us to read their complicated soul movements only from their actions, because they do not confess to each other nor in inner monologues.

What Silk does though, is that it absorbs us into its depths and makes us meditate on sublime love. How is it possible for the universes of two women to merge into one face? What fruit do we reap from all our experiences and how much time do we waste? How do we get out of the hypnosis of illusion and how can we abandon ourselves to the mystery? And what does it mean to travel if not to reach the core of our own being, as we learn patience, contemplation, slowness that all tune us to cosmic rhythms?

The thrilling writing is garnished by a style that shines and fascinates. Voluptuous and transparent, full of fervour and fluid in a way that only light can be, Silk escalates like the rumble of a flock released from the aviary about which Herve Joncour tells his wife: “You fill it with birds, with as many as you can, then, on the day you will feel a great joy, you open it and watch them fly from there”.

You, reader, go on and open this book. Birds from all the heavens, magnificent birds, with their rustling wings will burst from its pages, multiplying the splendour of the world and its echo in your heart.


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