Silk is a book that I read once a year (I’ve been upholding this tradition for the past 5 years now), not only do I find the translation excellent but I personally think it is the most perfect/unperfect love story I’ve ever read. Then again I am very biased when it comes to Italian authors (and directors) so maybe take this review with a pinch of salt.
It is 19th Century France and a disease is wiping out silkworms, so silk merchant Herve Joncour decides to go to Japan as he finds out that silkworms are plentiful there, eventually he ends up smuggling eggs into Europe.
Once he arrives he falls in love with a non-Asian women, who speaks Japanese and over the course of his visits his love for her increases, despite the fact that he is married. They do send love letters to each other though albeit in different languages.
It’s not as simple as that though. Baricco inserts a nasty twist which makes you question the nature of love.
Silk is a very thin book but despite that it’s got a depth and beauty in it that resonates with each page you turn and until Cunningham’s ‘The Hours’ no other book effected me so. It goes to prove that sometimes the simplest things are the most profound!