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The Hare with Amber Eyes (Illustrated…

The Hare with Amber Eyes (Illustrated Edition): A Hidden Inheritance (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Edmund de Waal

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2,2051062,944 (3.96)245
Title:The Hare with Amber Eyes (Illustrated Edition): A Hidden Inheritance
Authors:Edmund de Waal
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2012), Edition: Ill, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal (2010)

  1. 00
    The Little Book by Selden Edwards (AmourFou)
    AmourFou: A very different story than The Hare with Amber Eyes but I found myself thinking of this book for its apt reinforcement of fin de siècle Vienna.
  2. 00
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    Cimbrone: Also a book about a privileged Jewish family before, during and after WW II. Sumptuous and tragic.
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» See also 245 mentions

English (96)  Dutch (2)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
I found this to be a well-written and thorough personal journey. I happen to really enjoy this genre, especially when there is a family tree at the beginning, to follow the story from generation to generation. Still, I did find it a bit slow at the beginning and actually put it down for a few months upon hitting the half-way point. It was good, engaging and I did not want to abandon it. I picked it up again a few days ago and found the latter half of the book much easier and more interesting and was able to finish without any problems.

The author, Edmund de Waal, the British-born son of a Dutch clergyman in the Church of England, has inherited a set of 264 small *netsuke* - tiny wood and ivory carvings from Japan - from his great uncle, who lived in Tokyo. De Waal, a ceramicist, is struck by their beauty and decides to trace their origin and journeys over 5 generations through his family. His discovery of the journeys take him to Vienna, Paris, Odessa, and Japan and trace the history of a very prominent, wealthy Jewish dynasty who were decimated by the Nazis during World War II. All that remained of their wealth was this collection of netsuke, hidden and rediscovered, after the war. It took De Waal over 2 years to reconstruct the story and write this book and his obsession to do so is our gain. ( )
  jessibud2 | Oct 24, 2016 |
This is a great book. de Waal is an heir of the Ephrussis, a Jewish banking family that was almost as rich as the Rothschilds. He inherits 264 netsuke, which are miniature Japanese carvings that used to close a purse or a robe.
He then traces how these objects came to be, when they were bought, and how a lady servant took them away in front of the Nazis. His people are very colorful - Charles Ephrussi, the original buyer of the objects, was the model for Swann in Proust;s epic book and his uncle, who left him the netsuke, lived in Japan for many years with his boyfriend. ( )
  annbury | Jun 16, 2016 |
This wonderful book traces the history of a set of netsuke through their various owners within the wealthy banking family, the Ephrussis. The story shows the position of the family from 1871 to the present, focusing on the people who owned the 264 netsukes through their first appearance in Paris through fin de siecle Vienna and two world wars. The history parallels the history of wealthy Jews from being part of the fabric of high society to the horrors of WWII. There is resilience and determination also, as the following generations still keep the little ivory and boxwood statues and have once again found their place in the world. ( )
  velvetpaws | Mar 12, 2016 |
I read this for a book club and did not enjoy it. I felt is was way too detailed and pompous. A story of a family history that in my opinion is appropriate for just the family. It is meticulously researched and has historical interest and a twist of devotion. I was certainly sad and appalled at the family's devastation at the hands of the Nazis but I never felt a real compassion for the characters. ( )
1 vote becka11y2 | Jan 19, 2016 |
The Hare with Amber Eyes is part memoir, part travel log, part history book. It tells the story of a collection of small Japanese carvings called netsuke that de Waal inherits from his uncle and how they journey through the generations. It took me months to get through but the last few hours (I listened to it) were quite compelling. De Waal is the brother of one of my favorite Russophiles. What a talented family! ( )
  cygnet81 | Jan 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
What happened to the hare with amber eyes, and the carved medlar that almost felt as if it might squish when handled, after their return from Japan? De Waal bought them a secondhand vitrine from the V&A and set it up in his London house, its door unlocked so his own children could play with its contents. "Objects have always been . . . stolen, retrieved and lost. It is how you tell their stories that matters." He has told their story wonderfully. Oh, and this is a beautiful and unusual book, as a physical object. Somebody really cared.

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edmund de Waalprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boraso, MarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cohen, MarceloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eklöf, MargaretaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hilzensauer, BrigitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnová, LucieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lempens, WillekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miró, CarlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prosperi, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rugstad, ChristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sasada, MasakoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Even when one is no longer attached to things, it's still something to have been attached to them; because it was always for reasons which other people didn't grasp...Well, now that I'm a little too weary to live with other people, these old feelings, so personal and individual, that I had in the past, seem to me - it's a mania for all collectors - very precious. I open my heart to myself like a sort of vitrine, and examine one by one all those love affairs of which the world can know nothing. And of this collection to which I'm now much more attached than to my others, I say to myself, rather as Mazarin said of his books, but in fact without the least distress, that it will be very tiresome to have to leave it at all.'
Charles Swann.

Marcel Proust, 'Cities of the Plain'.
For Ben, Matthew and Anna
and for my father.
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In 1991 I was given a two-year scholarship by a Japanese foundation.
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Paris 1871-1899 -- Vienna 1899-1938 -- Vienna Kövecses, Tunbridge Wells, Vienna 1938-1947 -- Tokyo 1947-2001 -- Tokyo, Odessa, London 2001-2009.
Haiku summary
Mansions, power, art / Exile, stolen dignity / Netsuke bear witness (LynnB)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312569378, Paperback)

Amazon Best of the Month, September 2010: At the heart of Edmund de Waal's strange and graceful family memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes, is a one-of-a-kind inherited collection of ornamental Japanese carvings known as netsuke. The netsuke are tiny and tactile--they sit in the palm of your hand--and de Waal is drawn to them as "small, tough explosions of exactitude." He's also drawn to the story behind them, and for years he put aside his own work as a world-renowned potter and curator to uncover the rich and tragic family history of which the carvings are one of the few concrete legacies. De Waal's family was the Ephrussis, wealthy Jewish grain traders who branched out from Russia across the capitals of Europe before seeing their empire destroyed by the Nazis. Beginning with his art connoisseur ancestor Charles (a model for Proust's Swann), who acquired the netsuke during the European rage for Japonisme, de Waal traces the collection from Japan to Europe--where they were saved from the brutal bureaucracy of the Nazi Anschluss in the pockets of a family servant--and back to Japan and Europe again. Throughout, he writes with a tough, funny, and elegant attention to detail and personality that does full justice to the exactitude of the little carvings that first roused his curiosity. --Tom Nissley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:06 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Traces the parallel stories of nineteenth-century art patron Charles Ephrussi and his unique collection of 360 miniature netsuke Japanese ivory carvings, documenting Ephrussi's relationship with Marcel Proust and the impact of the Holocaust on his cosmopolitan family.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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