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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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,5711203,437 (3.98)317
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
Tags:2010 Family memoir of the Ephrussi in Vienna. 264 Japanese Netsuke

Work details

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance by Edmund de Waal (2010)

  1. 00
    The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Roth's novel is set in Vienna during the time the author's ancestors lived there.
  2. 00
    The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Both authors are English grandchildren of European Jews who lost homes and possessions during the Holocaust.
  3. 00
    In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: Charles Ephrussi, one of the subjects of this biography, was a model for Charles Swann.
  4. 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.
  5. 00
    Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald (shaunie)
  6. 00
    The Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by her Daughter by Elisabeth Gille (Cimbrone)
    Cimbrone: Also a book about a privileged Jewish family before, during and after WW II. Sumptuous and tragic.
  7. 00
    The Eitingons: a twentieth-century story by Mary-Kay Wilmers (marieke54)

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» See also 317 mentions

English (109)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  French (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (120)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
An intriguingly detailed family history told as the author traces the source and the trajectory through history of a family collection of Japanese netsuke, and the lives of the family members who owned them. I loved this book's slow journey through the events and people that led to the author's inheritance, full of touching details and suspense.
  styraciflua | Nov 28, 2018 |
I really liked the second half of this book, but the first half was SO slow and it took me forever to really get into the story. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
Not entirely my cup of tea, but a great book for book club discussion. The author's background as a potter (and not an author) makes it highly unusual, which is not a negative thing necessarily, but just made it a bit challenging to get into.

Really good historical info, though I'd suggest combining it with a more traditional narrative such as In the Garden of Beasts. ( )
  annhepburn | Mar 4, 2018 |
A little all over the place. But interesting as I had never heard of the Ephrussis or netsuke. ( )
  mahallett | Dec 20, 2017 |
At first this was hard to get involved in. The author is a great-great-something descendent of the Ephrussis, and this is story of what he learned while investigating the origins of a collection of netsuke, small Japanese baubles that were intricately carved, left to him by an uncle in Japan. The Ephrussi family came from Odessa originally, and then the patriarch split his sons between Paris and Vienna in the mid-1800s. The book first describes life in Paris, with astounding connections to artists such as Pissaro, Matisse, numerous impressionists. That was enjoyable (I love impressionism), but I wondered where the netsuke were going to enter in, as the title of the book refers to one of them – so I had expected the storyline to be more on the artifacts than artists. The author uses many French phrases and words unfamiliar to me, so it was difficult to get deeply interested. But when the author traveled to Vienna, his writing is about the daily life of his grandmother, then a young girl in an extremely wealthy household. Summer homes, dressmakers, ladies’ maids, carriage rides to the Prater… I enjoyed this section especially as I’ve been to Vienna. Now I want to return and see the former Palais Ephrussi. Finally, the netsuke are mentioned (always in their “vitrine” - a display cabinet) as play objects of the children under their mother’s supervision. The author has done an incredible amount of research to find such details; his grandmother was a major source of this information. While the Paris families did not seem to suffer from discrimination, in Vienna anti-Jewish attitudes were strong and grew stronger as described in the chapters set during WWI and WWII. The family suffered horrible financial loss at the hands of the Nazis; not just money, but priceless paintings, sculptures, and furniture were taken by Hitler and the SS. After the war, the author’s aunt – who had become an English citizen a decade before – and the remaining brothers could not bear to return to live in Vienna, and so the huge mansion on the Ringstrasse was sold for a pittance; I felt so saddened by their loss! The end of the book finally gets to the netsuke, and how they managed to (a) survive the war and (b) find their way to Japan with Iggie, the author’s uncle. That part of the writing seemed disjointed and I felt didn’t connect well with the rest of his book; he travels to Odessa to see what he can find out about the family’s origins. There is relatively little to report; perhaps it would be better kept for a companion book/booklet for interested readers. Overall, I rated this higher the more I read, so it started as a 3 but reached 4.5 for me. ( )
  geepee56 | Oct 10, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
Edmund de Waal kreeg van een oudoom 264 gordelknopen. Ze leidden tot het schrijven van de geschiedenis van zijn joodse familie, met mooie verhalen,
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 editionscalculated
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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Disambiguation notice
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
"De haas met de amberkleurige ogen" was de eerste vertaling in het Nederlands. Al in 2017 publiceerde De Bezig Bij een nieuwe, correctere vertaling onder de titel "De haas met ogen van barnsteen". Ook vertaling van de tekst werd op tal van punten aangepast. Zie: https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achte...
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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 10 descriptions

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