Announcing our Top 20 Books of 2022 and Award Winners

The Silk Road: Book summary and reviews of The Silk Road by Kathryn Davis

The Silk Road

by Kathryn Davis

The Silk Road by Kathryn Davis X
The Silk Road by Kathryn Davis
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published Mar 2019
    144 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A spellbinding novel about transience and mortality, by one of the most original voices in American literature.

The Silk Road begins on a mat in yoga class, deep within a labyrinth on a settlement somewhere in the icy north, under the canny guidance of Jee Moon. When someone fails to arise from corpse pose, the Astronomer, the Archivist, the Botanist, the Keeper, the Topologist, the Geographer, the Iceman, and the Cook remember the paths that brought them there - paths on which they still seem to be traveling.

The Silk Road also begins in rivalrous skirmishing for favor, in the protected Eden of childhood, and it ends in the harrowing democracy of mortality, in sickness and loss and death. Kathryn Davis's sleight of hand brings the past, present, and future forward into brilliant coexistence; in an endlessly shifting landscape, her characters make their way through ruptures, grief, and apocalypse, from existence to nonexistence, from embodiment to pure spirit.

Since the beginning of her extraordinary career, Davis has been fascinated by journeys. Her books have been shaped around road trips, walking tours, hegiras, exiles: and now, in this triumphant novel, a pilgrimage. The Silk Road is her most explicitly allegorical novel and also her most profound vehicle; supple and mesmerizing, the journey here is not undertaken by a single protagonist but by a community of separate souls - a family, a yoga class, a generation. Its revelations are ravishing and desolating.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A book that stuns, almost literally, with its force and its humility. A tender book. A savage book. A once-in-a-lifetime story." - Kirkus

"A haunting take on the fluidity and circuitousness of human life...Davis is a singular writer, capable of piercing observations and gorgeous language." - Publishers Weekly

"[Davis is] a master of mind-whirling, arabesque fiction. This puzzle of pieces of time past, present, and future is an alternately funny and wistful tale of excursions across forbidding, pandemic-afflicted landscapes...Davis has created a spooky, slippery, provocative, and elegiac fable in which amusingly fractious and poignantly imperiled pilgrims press on in a blasted world, destination unknown." - Booklist "With nothing less than the human condition on its mind, The Silk Road works in archetype and allegory to produce a slim (not even 150 pages!) but resounding book unlike any you've ever read." - Entertainment Weekly

"The Silk Road concerns itself with nothing less than the workings of the great wheel of time and its terrifying promises of rebirth and forgetfulness. A mysterious and wonderstruck work." - Joy Williams

"A book so vertiginously strange and yet so lullingly beautiful, it falls upon the reader like the change of day to night. Like all of Kathryn Davis's books, The Silk Road induces a fugue state in the reader from which she emerges with reluctance." - Kelly Link

This information about The Silk Road was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Kathryn Davis

Kathryn Davis is the author of seven novels, most recently Duplex. She is the senior fiction writer on the faculty of the writing program at Washington University.

More Author Information

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more literary fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join and Save 20%!

Become a member and
discover exceptional books.

Find out more


Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Horse
    Horse
    by Geraldine Brooks
    Voted 2022 Best Fiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. Geraldine Brooks creates a ...
  • Book Jacket: In Love
    In Love
    by Amy Bloom
    Voted 2022 Best Nonfiction Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. In 2019, author Amy Bloom and her...
  • Book Jacket: Remarkably Bright Creatures
    Remarkably Bright Creatures
    by Shelby Van Pelt
    Voted 2022 Best Debut Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers. Shelby Van Pelt's debut novel, ...

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Scatterlings
    by Resoketswe Martha Manenzhe

    The debut novel of a gifted storyteller who has become a sensation in her native South Africa.

Wordplay

The Big Holiday Wordplay

Enter Now

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
Cradles of the Reich
by Jennifer Coburn
Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race.
Who Said...

They say that in the end truth will triumph, but it's a lie.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.