The recent 24 Hour Read-a-Thon, provided the opportunity to read a bunch of shorter novels, and this was one of them. Translated in to English from the original Italian, it also completes the Orbis Terrarum challenge for me.
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.
This is a very short but wonderful read, which surprised me somewhat.
Told in short, often repetitive chapters, Baricco’s sparce and elegant writing – even in translation – has a real lyrical quality to it.
What you end up with is, a beautiful and haunting (though not necessarily happy) musing on the meaning of love.
It is, a quick read, but not one I think you’ll rush through, you’ll want to take your time and savour what you are reading.
Buy, Silk, from Amazon.