“The only visible sign of his power was a woman lying beside him, unmoving, her head resting on his lap, eyes closed, arms hidden under a loose red robe that spread around her, like a flame, on the ash-coloured mat”
‘Deeply moving - a delicately crafted love story and an anatomy of desire’ Guardian
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.
“Mesmerising and starkly beautiful”
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“A heart-breaking love story told in the form of a classic fable … A stylistic tour de force, a literary gem of bewitching power”
“Deeply moving … A delicately crafted love story and an anatomy of desire”
“An intensely powerful and perceptive drama of the deepest human desires … One of the most astonishing and moving novels I have ever read”
“Haunting and delicately erotic”
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Alessandro Baricco was born in Turin in 1958. He is the author of thirteen novels, as well as a number of essay and short story collections, a modern rendition of The Iliad and a theatrical monologue. He has won the Prix Médicis Étranger in France and the Selezione Campiello, Viareggio and Palazzo al Bosco prizes in Italy.
Ann Goldstein is a frequent translator from the Italian. She has translated works by, among others, Elena Ferrante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alessandro Baricco, Erri De Luca and Roberto Calasso.