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The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance

Category:
Author: Edmund de Waal
ISBN: 9780312569372
Original Region: United States
Original Language: English
Publication Date: 2011
Publisher:
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An Economist Book of the Year

Costa Book Award Winner for Biography

Galaxy National Book Award Winner (New Writer of the Year Award)

Edmund de Waal is a world-famous ceramicist. Having spent thirty years making beautiful pots—which are then sold, collected, and handed on—he has a particular sense of the secret lives of objects. When he inherited a collection of 264 tiny Japanese wood and ivory carvings, called netsuke, he wanted to know who had touched and held them, and how the collection had managed to survive.

And so begins this extraordinarily moving memoir and detective story as de Waal discovers both the story of the netsuke and of his family, the Ephrussis, over five generations. A nineteenth-century banking dynasty in Paris and Vienna, the Ephrussis were as rich and respected as the Rothchilds. Yet by the end of the World War II, when the netsuke were hidden from the Nazis in Vienna, this collection of very small carvings was all that remained of their vast empire.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Edmund de Waal’s porcelain has been displayed in many museum collections around the world, and he has recently made an installation for the dome of the Victoria and Albert Museum. He was apprenticed as a potter, studied in Japan, and studied English at Cambridge. He is Professor of Ceramics at the University of Westminster and lives in London with his family.

Praise for The Hare with Amber Eyes:

“A family memoir written with a grace and modesty that almost belie the sweep of its contents: Proust, Rilke, Japanese art, the rue de Monceau, Vienna during the Second World War. The most enchanting history lesson imaginable.” —The New Yorker

“An extraordinary history...A wondrous book, as lustrous and exquisitely crafted as the netsuke at its heart.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“A lovely, gripping book.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Enthralling . . . [de Waal’s] essayistic exploration of his family’s past pointedly avoids any sentimentality . . . The Hare with Amber Eyes belongs on the same shelf with Vladimir Nabokov’s Speak, Memory.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

“This is a book Sebald would have loved.” —The Irish Times

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