Saturday, 10 November 2012

Alessandro Baricco "Silk"

Silk-Alessandro Baricco
Some people do not like this work, some do. I find  "Silk" of Alessandro Baricco interesting but it is not my favorite; he managed to stand out from the crowd. This story stays in memory due to its unusual rhythm which reminds me of Maurice Ravel's Bolero. Maybe he decided to express Japanese aesthetics in this way. The story also resembles an old fairy tale that focuses on the main story line omitting detailed descriptions, which is also facilitated by the book's design, its division into short chapters, and repetitions (repetitive long trips to Japan). Well, Alessandro Baricco experimented.

I think this book falls under the category "Women as symbols of hope, illusion, dream." Here, as in The Great Gatsby, a married Frenchman, Hervé Joncour, takes enormous efforts (in this story he undertakes long journeys from Europe to Japan) just to have a glimpse of his dream that he imagined.

A young Frenchman smuggles silkworms in 19th century. He is sent from France to Japan to pick up secret cargoes. In Japan, he meets a beautiful girl, a local rich man's mistress. They do not speak to each other, they do not touch each other. This tension, hidden promise and exotic culture made his passion grow like mount Fuji when you climb it. Not being able to speak the same language, they communicate through letters.  In the meantime military interventions begin in Japan, however the love of Joncour does not wane, and Helene, Joncour's wife, begins to suspect...

At the the end of the story Joncour understands that his true love was never far. The question is: why do we make tremendous efforts to discover one day that the truth is nearby?

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