Aaron Curtiss'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
Mar 07, 2012

liked it
Read from March 07 to April 02, 2012

This was a very slow and at time laborious read, but, as other reviewers have commented, the last 100 pages or so redeemed it... somewhat. It's entirely possible that a certain type of person would have the exact opposite opinion, but for me, a reasonably educated person of reasonably average patience, it was a very difficult book to engage, and I wasn't particularly rewarded for my effort. de Waal's vocabulary, especially when writing about the social and artistic milieu of 19th century Europe, is both impressive and off-putting. There are beautiful turns of phrase and analogies, but there are just as many that obscure the image being depicted, sometimes to the point of derailing the narrative pull. Put another way, my copy of this book has far too many dog-ears. I give de Waal and the book a lot of credit for the sheer magnitude of the endeavor, and for the rather compelling tenor that the story of these netsuke provide, or else this review may have sunk to just 2 stars.

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