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Alessandro Baricco, loved by readers worldwide for his innovative take on magic realism, his atmospheric novels and memorable characters, is one of Italy’s bestselling and most acclaimed authors. His previous novels have been published in the UK by Canongate and Vintage in the US.
Maxim Jakubowski September 2016 Highly Recommended. Baricco is an Italian author who treads a delicate line between fables (SILK) and the post-modern novel (MR GWYN). His latest combines both these strands with elegance and disconcerting imagination and proves an absolute delight. In an unknown country at an unknown time, or then it could be Italy at the turn of the century, a young woman arrives at the door of an imposing house and is ambiguously greeted by its motley, bizarre inhabitants, a family with quirks to spare. She is promised to their son and is now of age and come to marry him, but he is away overseas on a mysterious mission of trade. Her interactions with the endearing household are tentative, erotic, cautious and, as days tick by and there is no news of the errant son, soon the past story is unveiled, layer by delicate layer, a story within stories of love, brothels, sleep and art. Opaque, fascinating and delicate, a story that will insidiously grow roots in your mind. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
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.
Without Blood begins with a shocking, visceral act of violence - the assassination of a man and his family. Only the daughter, Nina, survives, thanks to an extraordinary act of mercy by one of the attackers. Nina is just four years old. Decades later Nina hunts down the last of her family's murderers, the man who was her saviour. Their reunion brings about a profound reappraisal of their lives and what took place on that fateful night over half a century earlier. Highly visual and unforgettably sad, Without Blood is a haunting book about damage, longing, memory and forgiveness. Ann Goldstein's superb translation captures Baricco's effortless prose style and gives readers in Britain the opportunity to experience this gem of a novel that has already delighted hundreds of thousands across Europe.