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The Hare With Amber Eyes

A Hidden Inheritance

De Waal, Edmund

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Hare With Amber Eyes
Print
Traces the parallel stories of nineteenth-century art patron Charles Ephrussi and his unique collection of 360 miniature netsuke Japanese ivory carvings, documenting Ephrussi's relationship with Marcel Proust and the impact of the Holocaust on his cosmopolitan family.
Publisher: New York : Picador, 2011, c2010
Edition: 1st Picador ed
ISBN: 9780312569372
0312569378
Branch Call Number: B-D5152h 2011
Characteristics: 354 p. :,ill. ;,21 cm

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A different kind of family history, written with grace and modesty. After inheriting a netsuke collection from a beloved uncle, De Waal began a detective-like search for their history and the family who handled them. It took him through a banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, unimaginable wealth, ... Read More »

Join us for the discussion on June 10, 2015. The story of a remarkable family and a tumultuous century. Sweeping yet intimate, a highly original meditation on art, history and family, told through the story of their tiny Japanese netsuke sculptures.

A different kind of family history, written with grace and modesty. After inheriting a netsuke collection from a beloved uncle, De Waal began a detective-like search for their history and the family who handled them. It took him through a banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, unimaginable wealth, ... Read More »


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Aug 23, 2014
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Edmund de Waal is descended from a grand, 19th century European banking family, the Ephrussi family. But by the end of the Second World War, virtually all that remained of their vast fortune was a collection of 264 Japanese wood and ivory carvings called netsuke. De Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this collection and this memoir is his account of the collection’s and his family’s history.

Jul 19, 2014
  • callaottawa rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent read and a book I could not put down. Use of the netsuke collection as it moved through the ages and the families that owned it as the underpinning for the story was very effective. Not a kind of book I usually enjoy but stayed with the author right to the very end.

from Patricia Wilson 5/2013

Apr 26, 2014
  • talktimereader rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Historically interesting and well written story around the author,s family history and his relationship to the great European banking families of Ephrussi and Rothschilds.

Author is a renouned English ceramics artist. His exploration into the family possession of a collection of Japanese netsuke figurines, which eventually comes to him, is surprisingly involving and an education.

Feb 18, 2014
  • dinkthecat rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

In a word: amazing. Unsentimental, clearly written story of a family to evoke Age of Innocence and the Budenbrooks. I could not put it down.

Oct 11, 2013
  • Jane60201 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I really enjoyed this unusual book. Illustrates periods of history "on the ground" as experienced by real people.

Sep 09, 2013
  • gregorka6036 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Not for me. Can't decide if it's meant to be a biography, an art history lesson or if he decided after the fact that he needed a theme (netsuke) to link together all his research into his family history. Seems like someone told him that he was spending too much time doing this research (and not ceramics) and that he better find a financial outlet for his work!

Jan 09, 2013
  • Drayjayeff rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

De Waal's prose is carefully crafted as his pots (He's a brilliant ceramicist). This is an absorbing and atmospheric memoir. Intensely visual, it would make a great movie.

Dec 21, 2012
  • icelandia rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

If history had been taught with books like this for text, I would have gotten straight A’s. One hundred years of the Ephrussi family, a Jewish banking family that originated in Russia and spread from there to Vienna, to Paris, to London, and then the Nazi-enforced diaspora to America, Holland & Japan. A secularized Jewish family who collected art and built stupendous houses, who rubbed shoulders with such as Proust, the Impressionists, Rilke, and other banking families like the Rothschilds. The author, a contemporary descendant, a successful potter in England, frames the book with the family’s collection of netsuke (small Japanese carvings). The book begins and ends with a contemplation of objects and collecting, leaving the reader with food-for-though, as they say.

Nov 30, 2012
  • dsftulsa rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I loved this book and I didn't think I would. It went off on tangents, but it was like having a conversation with a thoughtful artist. The personal story of his family, the immediacy of the history he relates is wonderful.

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