The Hare With Amber Eyes

The Hare With Amber Eyes

A Hidden Inheritance

Book - 2012
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Traces the parallel stories of nineteenth-century art patron Charles Ephrussi and his unique collection of 264 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 : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Edition: 1st rev. ed. and ill. American ed
ISBN: 9780374168285
0374168288
Characteristics: 418 p. : ill. (some col.), col. map ; 24 cm

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Liber_vermis
Feb 15, 2016

The more I read the more I wondered how much was memoir and how much was historical-fiction. Near the end of his book de Waal admits: “…I tell [a Ukrainian acquaintance] why we’ve come [to Odessa], that I’m writing a book about – I stumble to a halt. I no longer know if this book is about my family, or memory, or myself, or is still a book about small Japanese things. (p. 342)” While the central theme of this book are the carved Japanese netsuke why aren't these 'bibelots' illustrated in the photographs? The author tends to use obscure words ('amanuensis') when a wider known word would aid the flow of reading ('secretary'). A fascinating chronicle of the "Jewish problem" in Europe over the past two centuries.

p
pacdg
Oct 27, 2015

I was uncomfortable in the world of privilege portrayed in this book.

g
gregorka6036
Sep 09, 2013

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!

d
Drayjayeff
Jan 09, 2013

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.

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