Kay Wright's Reviews > The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss

The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal
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's review
Nov 28, 2011

it was ok
Read in October, 2011

The story of an Rothchild level rich Russian family that lost it all during WWII. Written by a great-grandson who frames the story around a box of netsuke that was the only thing saved. Some of the famly members are interesting but the author, a potter not a writer, sucks the life out of all of them with his fascination with acquisitions. It's hard to breathe life into stories when all you have is a scattering of papers but Rebecca Sloot showed how magically it can happen in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. None of the immediate family died in the war, I don't remember anyone fighting either. They lost their "stuff" but since they never showed much charity or generosity before the war it was hard to feel much sympathy. And I didn't learn much about netsuke which was the reason for reading the book. They're the tiny carved beads Japanese warlords used to close their obis in the 17th and 18th century. And if I never hear the word vitrine again it will be too soon.
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Molly Purrington I completely agree with you. Finally someone articulated exactly why I didn't like this book. Thanks!

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