Silk, by Alessandro Baricco, is kind of a toss-up for me. I read the book because I’m trying to read a book from every country, and the author is Italian. And the entire book was beautifully crafted.

The book is about a silkworm merchant who’s slowly falling in love—silently and very poetically—with a Japanese woman who’s never even spoken to him. And all the while, his wife stands by, seeing him fall away from her. It’s incredibly symbolic, easy to read, and simply beautiful.

The reason it’s a toss-up is because, almost all of the way through the book, there’s this random three-page episode of pornographic sex. It’s not just that there’s sexual content—it’s that it goes from 0 to 60 in about 2 paragraphs. And I’m really not comfortable with graphic sex in anything I’m reading.

So I really don’t know whether to recommend the book or not. I guess if you think I’m a prude by the end of this article, go for it. And if you don’t want to walk into someone else’s bedroom, then pass on it. ♦


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