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Silk Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Roc (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451456688
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451456687
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Despite its title, there's nothing smooth or sexy about this skin-crawling debut from Kiernan, an author with one helluvan imagination and a startling lack of inhibition. At the center of this modern gothic horror story is Spyder Baxter, a deeply troubled young woman haunted by terrifying memories of childhood and her insane, abusive father. But his transgressions were so heinous that the demons aren't just in her head anymore; they've taken on a life of their own and are taking over Spyder's house, crawling out of the basement and into everything and everyone she cares about. Caught in Spyder's web of bad karma are a motley crew of disenfranchised Gen Xers all living on the edge and trying to heal various psychic wounds of their own. They've each got plenty of reasons to be hallucinating, and the author does a good job of blurring the lines between their bad acid trips and spectral sightings. But reading Kiernan is rather like deciphering entrails, filled with the violence of raw, edgy words: "The angry screech of denied retribution, raging shadows and nightshade teeth." Her rambling metaphors ("Dull smack of her shoulder against the wall, again and again, meat-thud tattoo") hint at inexperience, but her naked energy will appeal to grungers weaned on The Hunger.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

A serious mastery of visual imagery. You absolutely must read it. -- Carpe Noctem Magazine #14, Summer 1998, reviewed by Mehitobel Wilson

An engrossing and exquisitely lyrical novel. Caitlin Kiernan has established herself as a writer of considerable power and artistry. -- Hellnotes, 1998, reviewed by Brian Hodge

An incremental triumph of texture and layering. Kiernan's is a dark and mellifluous voice to which we should all listen. -- Locus, Vol. 41 No. 3, September 1998, reviewed by Edward Bryant

Personally, I just loved this book and can't wait to see what she writes next. -- The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Vol. 96 No. 6, December 1998, reviewed by Charles de Lint

Style, mood, and characterization blend for an addictive and thought-provoking story, every bit a page-turner. -- Zealot.com, April 2000, reviewed by Shane Ivey

More About the Author

Caitlin R. Kiernan was born near Dublin, Ireland, but has spent most of her life in the southeastern United States. In college, she studied zoology, geology, and palaeontology, and has been employed as a vertebrate palaeontologist and college-level biology instructor. The results of her scientific research have been published in the JOURNAL OF VERTEBRATE PALAEONTOLOGY, THE JOURNAL OF PALAEONTOLOGY and elsewhere. In 1992, she began writing her first novel, THE FIVE OF CUPS (it remained unpublished until 2003). Her first published novel, SILK (1998), earned her two awards and praise from critics and such luminaries as Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, and Poppy Z. Brite. Her next novel, THRESHOLD (2001), was also an award-winner, and since then she has written LOW RED MOON (2003), MURDER OF ANGELS (2004), DAUGHTER OF HOUNDS (2007), and, forthcoming, THE RED TREE. She is a prolific short fiction author, and her award-winning short stories have been collected in TALES OF PAIN AND WONDER (2000), WRONG THINGS (with Poppy Z. Brite; 2001), FROM WEIRD AND DISTANT SHORES (2002), and TO CHARLES FORT, WITH LOVE (2005), ALABASTER (2006), FROG TOES AND TENTACLES (2005), TALES FROM THE WOEFUL PLATYPUS (2007), and, most recently, the sf collection, A IS FOR ALIEN (2009). She has also scripted comics for DC/Vertigo, including THE DREAMING ('97-'01), THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE DEATH ('98), and BAST: ETERNITY GAME ('03). Her short sf novel THE DRY SALVAGES was published in 2004, and has published numerous chapbooks since 2000. Caitlin also fronted the goth-rock band Death's Little Sister in 1996-1997, once skinned a lion, and likes sushi. She lives in Providence, RI with her partner, Kathryn, and her two cats, Hubero and Smeagol. Caitlin is represented by Writer's House (NYC) and United Talent Agency (LA).

Customer Reviews

Kiernan's beautiful writing and terrifying story definitely work for me!
The Green Fairy
Many things are never explained and you have no clue what it was supposed to mean or why they did it.
L. Holyk
Very interesting, the characters are mostly well developed, you live and die with them.
Candida Rodriguez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Todd on February 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is such an amazing book. Caitlin R. Kiernan may be the H. P. Lovecraft for the 21st century! Silk is that good. Kiernan's superb imagination is balanced by the perfectly-realized reality of her landscape. Though filled with shudders and suspense, the book is not filled with the sort of absurd gore and splatter that ruins so many scary books these days. Kiernan knows there are scarier things than blood and guts. This is an absolute must read.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By The Green Fairy on December 29, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Silk is a triumph of incremental suspense. Kiernan begins her novel of Southern Gothicisms with solid characters and a finely-tuned knack for describing her setting, coupled with a powerful, almost poetic flare for the English language, and slowly lures the reader into a frightening world where nothing is certain and every shadow is reason for fear. Her ability to undermine our sense of reality is awesome and she uses it to set up a novel where the things that go bump in the night might only exist in the mentally-ill or drug-altered minds of her characters as nothing more than an elaborate array of shared hallucinations....or may be very, very real indeed!
Kiernan's beautiful writing and terrifying story definitely work for me! I loved this book.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Are you afraid of spiders? Well, this is one magnificently spidery book. Though the author is a master (or is that mistress?) of lyrical prose, exquisite characterization, mood, and subtext (quantum physics *and* Orpheus in one book!), Silk still manages to touch a lot of our most basic fears and takes full advantage of them. Kiernan's portrait of Birmingham, Alabama, as a brooding post-industrial wasteland is as chilling as the shadowy creatures that may (or may not) stalk its nights. The author's familiarity with the youth subcultures of the early 1990s adds another marvelous dimension to what may be the coolest spooky novel I've read since Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls. This novel *proves* once and for all that a book can be scary as hell *and* extremely intelligent at the same time. It certainly deserves the awards it's won and the praise its received from "big name" authors like Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Judy on January 31, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
From the first page to the last, Silk is a beautiful, black pearl of a book. Caitlin Kiernan's character's will break your heart and her way with words will leave breathless - this book is that good. Smart, sexy, and scary, this is the best dark fantasy novel I've read in years.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 13, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read SILK because a friend of mine recommended it and because I've been enjoying Caitlin Kiernan's work on THE DREAMING. I was *not* disappointed. This is one of those really rare Gothic novels that transcends the limitations of its genre (and the things we're usually willing to settle for from that genre) and delivers a stunning literary delight. The book works on many different levels. Yes, it's a very frightening novel, filled with strange goings-on and crawly things. It's also a wonderful experiment in language; it's rare to find an author who seems to take such sheer enjoyment from the act of constructing sentences. On another level, this is a fine example of the fiction of the New South, a skillfully woven Southern Gothic. It's a masterful collection of character studies, and any fledgling writer would do well to study SILK as an exercise in learning how to create *real* and believable people from words and imagination. It's hard to accept that this is a first novel, so marked is its scope and maturity. I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting this author's second!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 22, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Caitlin Kiernan spins a fascinating and original tale. SILK is surprising in so many ways, from its choice of settings to Kiernan's strength as a first-time novelist. She shows an incredibly subtle and unerring hand with a task that so many other writers have bungled, creating a contemporary, urban fantasy story populated by members of such marginalized subcultures as goth, punk, and the gay/lesbian community. Her characters are strikingly three-dimensional, real people, and she has a knack for getting the reader to care about them. This is an incredibly dark, haunting, and, at times, frightening story of insanity and the supernatural, but it would be misleading to label it horror (which the publisher, wisely, hasn't done). SILK is in a class by itself and will appeal to readers looking for an escape from mundane, safe, and predictable cookie-cutter fiction!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's great to see one of the best contemporary Gothic novels in a snazzy new trade paperback format. I'm very glad the publisher kept the same cover art, though. SILK received both the Maiden Voyage and International Horror Guild awards for best new novel. If you haven't read it already, SILK is a truly remarkable and supremely effective novel. Caitlin Kiernan is surely one of the current masters of the form, and in this novel she has crafted a wonderfully creepy story of hauntings and insanity. Great characters who never fail to ring true and some of the most stunning prose out there. The soft-spoken ending is one of the novel's genuine triumphs. To paraphrase what Stephen King once said of Shirley Jackson, Kiernan doesn't need to raise her voice to unsettle us. Her whispers are loud and clear, and SILK is, like Jackson's THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (or classic English ghost stories and the works of Machen), a book of whispers. I loved this book when it was first released in 1998 and I still love it.
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