The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss
The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who “burned like a comet” in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox.
The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became
Edmund de Waal, a potter, traces the hi ...more
But Edmund de Waal easily escapes the clichés when he relies on well-known cultural episodes. As the ...more
At first I thought this book was slow, overly preoccupied with art at the expense of narrative, and becalmed. By the end, the author's view-as-artist illumined the narrative and its characters, who are several past generations of his family.
As all the summaries and reviews say, the generation of his great grandfather were a wealthy Jewish banking and grain exporting dynasty in Paris and Vienna and around Europe, and also art collectors and patrons, but in the next generation the family's financ ...more
There are many excellent reasons for reading The Hare with Amber Eyes. Its author, Edmund De Waal, is known to the world as a fine ceramic artist, whose work is widely shown in museums and galleries. He is also an exceptionally fine writer, bringing an artist’s sensibility to this other medium: a meticulous attention to the detail of language, its rhythms and its evocative potential. Read the book for its exhaustive descriptions of interiors, whether bel époque Paris or Wiener Werkstatt Vienna; ...more
De Waal's family history is fascinating and I was particularly interested in the link to Proust and Great Great Uncle Charles being the model for Swann. The descriptions of furnishings and the decorative aspect of the grand residences are sumptuous. De Waal ...more
And yet it is hard to feel much sympathy eith ...more
Did I like it? No.
It is a story of the authors family in a blindly tunnel vision view of how everyone was out to get his Jewish family as they rose to the pinnacle of society in the Austrian empire, survived more or less as well as anyone else did in the 2nd world war and on to his gay uncles exploits in Japan.
With such wonderful chapter starters as "It wasn't just Renoir who hated the Jews..." (note no justi ...more
I don’t use the word “extraordinary” lightly. From the story's beginnings in the shtetl of Berdishev (where the Ukraine meets Poland – not far from the an ...more
The language is wonderful. The stories in France where Renoir and Proust just pop in as part of the 'scene' - oh what a feel for Impressionist France - I particularly loved finding out that Charles is that figure in the top hat in the background of Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party- somehow such a small intimate detail of Charles' life has enlivened that painting for me for ever.
The netsuke were originally collected by De Waal’s great great uncle Charles and were one of the few tr ...more
The author claims, toward the end of this book, to 'no longer know if this book is about my family, or memory, or myself, or is still a book about ...more
The story of a love affair, or rather of several.
Can you fall in love with objects? Do they hum and glow with secrets of past times? The key to the Japanese netsuke passed to Edmund de Waal from his great-uncle Iggy is the sensuous pleasure they afford: smooth, small coolness, heavy in the hand for their size. Tactile. Not designed to be gazed at from a respectful distance, but to be picked up and played with. Intimate. Hidden.
Edmund de Waal follows the trace of th ...more
ETA: I changed this to two stars. For most of this book I struggled to keep turning the pages. I think it is wrong to judge an entire book by the last 100 pages. Back to two stars, which reflects my feeling for the majority of the book.
On completion: So how can I complain so much about a book and then give it 3 stars? (See ETA!) The answer is simple, this is how I felt when I finished the book. I have been discussing this book with Amy ...more
Netsuke (根付) are miniature sculptures that were invented in 17th-century Japan to serve a practical function (the two Japanese characters ne + tsuke mean "root" and "to attach"). Traditional Japanese garments — robes called kosode and kimono — had no pockets; however, men who wore them needed a place to store their personal belongings, such as pipes, tobacco, money, seals, or medicines.
Their solution was to place such objects in containers (called sagemono) hung by cords from the robes' sashes ( ...more
The title of this book is a 'netsuke'. It is one of the many such objects, (small valuable Japanese miniatures), that had semi-practical use in Japan when men wore Kimonos. They became objects of interests after 1854 when Japan was open to the west. A large quantity was shipped to Europe and purchased by collectors. Later other emerging impressionist artist caught on.
The focus of this family (pained by ant ...more
De Waal traveled to all the places this family had lived, and did his best to walk in the spaces they walked, look out the windows they did, and endeavor to imagine their lives. ...more
De Waal, himself an artist, is peering backward into time. He explores his family's success, constantly aware of the menace which surrounds such. Pieces of tiny sculptures lie at the heart of this quest. The pieces are Japanese in origin. The author explo ...more
To be fair, this is high-brow storytelling. If "The DaVinci Code" is the McDonald's equivalent of a book that incorporates these two themes, then "Amber Eyes" is the four-course French meal complete with palette-cleansing sorbet.
The book is a biography of de Waal's inherited collection of more than 200 pieces of Japanese netsuke, small c ...more
A memoir? (No doubt, the author - a remarkable individual in his own right - embarks on a quest and drags the reader along...) A family history? (Not just any family.... this is the rise and fall of a great (Jewish) dynasty....) A slice of Holocaust history? (and the reminder that, yes, it could have been much worse... but, still, the loss.... and, again, the loss) A deep dive into an ...more
Descobri A Lebre de Olhos de Âmbar numa lista intitulada "22 livros que são diamantes para o cérebro", na qual constam 9 que já tinha lido, em que apenas 3 não considero jóias preciosas porque... enfim, não posso gostar de tudo...
Edmund de Waal é um prestigiado oleiro descendente da família Ephrussi (*). Ao herdar uma col ...more
De Waal has undertaken the task of tracing the history of 264 netsuke he inherited from his great-uncle Iggie. He lets the j ...more
The reader can tell how close this story is to the writer’s heart - tracing his paternal genealogy through the turbulence of Europe in the 1900s, in which his ancestors gained and lost a fortune. De Waal choses to track a collection of netsuke, small Japanese ceramics, from the time his grea ...more
Con passo da flâneur, come Edmund De Waal scrive a un certo punto del suo libro, l'autore si mette sulle tracce della collezione dei 264 netsuke (come ho avuto modo di imparare durante la lettura, piccole sculture giapponesi di avorio o di legno, non più grandi di una scatola di fiammiferi, raffiguranti divinità, personaggi di ogni tipo, animali, piante) ricevuti in eredità dallo zio Iggie.
Ci ammonisce subito, De Waal, e confesso che dopo poche pagine era stato proprio questo il mio ...more
I dearly wanted to like this work, particularly after all the glowing reviews and its international popularity, but ultimately I was unable to find the sweet-spot that would bring it all together. I did not dislike the work; but I did not like it either. Trying to work out why has not been an easy task. There is no doubt ...more
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|The Book Vipers: The Hare With Amber Eyes - Read Along January-March 2014||23||84||Mar 16, 2014 12:12PM|
|Around the World ...: Discussion for The Hare with the Amber Eyes||5||125||Jan 30, 2013 07:45AM|
|La Stamberga dei ...: Un'eredità di avorio e ambra. Edizione illustrata di Edmund de Waal||1||3||Jan 03, 2013 03:38AM|