The history of a family through 264 objects - set against a turbulent century - from an acclaimed writer and potter
264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox: potter Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in the Tokyo apartment of his great uncle Iggie. Later, when Edmund inherited the 'netsuke', they unlocked a story far larger than he could ever have imagined...The Ephrussis came from Odessa, and at one time were the largest grain exporters in the world; in the 1870s, Charles Ephrussi was part of a wealthy new generation settling in Paris. Marcel Proust was briefly his secretary and used Charles as the model for the aesthete Swann in Remembrance of Things Past.
Charles' passion was collecting; the netsuke, bought when Japanese objects were all the rage in the salons, were sent as a wedding present to his banker cousin in Vienna. Later, three children - including a young Ignace - would play with the netsuke as history reverberated around them. The Anschluss and Second World War swept the Ephrussis to the brink of oblivion.
Almost all that remained of their vast empire was the netsuke collection, smuggled out of the huge Viennese palace (then occupied by Hitler's theorist on the 'Jewish Question'), one piece at a time, in the pocket of a loyal maid - and hidden in a straw mattress. In this stunningly original memoir, Edmund de Waal travels the world to stand in the great buildings his forebears once inhabited. He traces the network of a remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.
And, in prose as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves, he tells the story of a unique collection which passed from hand to hand - and which, in a twist of fate, found its way home to Japan.
About the Author
Edmund de Waal's porcelain is shown in many museum collections round the world and he has recently made installations for the V&A and Tate Britain. He was apprenticed as a potter, studied in Japan and read English at Cambridge. He is Professor of Ceramics at the University of Westminster and lives in London with his family.
Reviewed by 2 customers
Displaying reviews 1-2
Comments about The Hare with the Amber Eyes:
Had heard many great things about this book, but reading it felt like wading through treacle.
Comments about The Hare with the Amber Eyes:
I thought this story was about the collection of netsuke but it was really about the history of a Jewish family and about their tragic journey from the beginning of World War !!.
"From a hard and vast archival mass...Mr de Waal has fashioned, stroke by minuscule stroke, a book as fresh with detail as if it had been written from life, and as full of beauty and whimsy as a netsuke from the hands of a master carver." The Economist "This remarkable book... a meditation on touch, exile, space and the responsibility of inheritance... like the netsuke themselves, this book is impossible to put down. you have in your hands a masterpiece." -- Frances Wilson The Sunday Times "Few writers have ever brought more perception, wonder and dignity to a family story as has Edmund de Waal in a narrative that beguiles from the opening sentence" -- Eileen Battersby Irish Times "Part treasure hunt, part family saga, Edmund de Waal's richly original memoir spans nearly two centuries and covers half the world" Evening Standard "A book that combines the charm of a personal memoir with the resonance of world history." -- Rosemary Hill The Scotsman
|Family Tree||p. x|
|Le West End||p. 21|
|Un lit de parade||p. 33|
|'A mahout to guide her'||p. 38|
|'So light, so soft to the touch'||p. 44|
|A box of children's sweets||p. 55|
|A fox with inlaid eyes, in wood||p. 62|
|The yellow armchair||p. 67|
|Monsieur Elstir's asparagus||p. 72|
|Even Ephrussi fell for it||p. 82|
|My small profits||p. 90|
|A 'very brilliant five o'clock'||p. 97|
|Die Potemkinische Stadt||p. 111|
|History as it happens||p. 126|
|'A large square box such as children draw'||p. 138|
|'Liberty Hall'||p. 145|
|The sweet young thing||p. 154|
|Once upon a time||p. 165|
|Types of the Old City||p. 169|
|Heil Wien! Heil Berlin!||p. 178|
|Litetally zero||p. 202|
|You must change your life||p. 212|
|Eldorado 5-0050||p. 222|
|Vienna, Kövesces, Tunbridge Wells, Vienna 1938-1947|
|'An ideal spot for mass marches'||p. 237|
|'A never-to-be-repeated opportunity'||p. 248|
|'Good for a single journey'||p. 260|
|The tears of things||p. 269|
|Anna's pocket||p. 277|
|'All quite openly, publicly and legally'||p. 284|
|Where did you get them?||p. 312|
|The real Japan||p. 319|
|On polish||p. 327|
|Coda: Tokyo, Odessa, London 2001-2009|
|An astrolabe, a menzula, a globe||p. 336|
|Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.|
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: 1st March 2011
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.1 x 2.8
Weight (kg): 0.35