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The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (2010)

by Edmund de Waal

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0911393,335 (3.99)351
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.
  1. 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.
  2. 00
    The Eitingons: a twentieth-century story by Mary-Kay Wilmers (marieke54)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 00
    Austerlitz by W. G. Sebald (shaunie)
  6. 01
    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.
  7. 01
    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.

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» See also 351 mentions

English (125)  Dutch (5)  Italian (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (139)
Showing 1-5 of 125 (next | show all)
Wonderful book, wonderfully written. Among many other things, it was fascinating how de Wall convincingly describes how he believed that his French family members were components of characters in Proust's [Remembrance of Things Past] along with their involvement with painters of the era. ( )
  Diane-bpcb | Oct 14, 2021 |
Objects, like people, have histories. Edmund de Waal's story of the netsuke he has inherited from his granduncle Iggie takes you from Paris to Vienna and from Tokyo to London with a stop in Odessa along the way. I would imagine this would be an interesting story regardless of the family involved in the hands of any skilled storyteller.

De Waal's family, however, was anything but average. They were the Ephrussi, a fabulously rich Jewish family of bankers that began its empire in Russia in the mid-1800s. Their banks spread over Western Europe by the late-nineteenth century only to be eliminated in World War II.

Throughout the book, de Waal interweaves stories of his great-great uncles, their cousins, and his great-grandparents with world events. And these he mixes with the everyday lives of his forebears, and the attitudes of Europeans towards the family and Jews in general.

Like the vitrines which hold the netsuke, de Waal's book is itself a cabinet of sorts, allowing us to peek into the lives and times of the people who owned them. I found it a deeply meditative book about the human conditiobn. The Ephrussi are held up as neither great nor as victims, but as real people shaped by their time and place.

The tragedy that visited his family is examined no more sympathetically than the Japanese are during the occupation after World War II. We are all similar, de Waal seems to be saying. We all share, in our humanity, the impulse for good and for ill. And we all suffer or benefit from these impulses from others. ( )
1 vote Library_Lin | Oct 4, 2021 |
Well written and very well researched. Inspiring for writing one's own family history. However I was expecting the book to be art history, with emphasis on netsuke and the author's own pottery. Instead it was mostly about his wealthy family's history, and the persecutions of Jews. I felt the author was speaking down a tunnel to himself, and if I cared to listen it was quite interesting, but mostly the paragraphs seemed to be directed himself. I did enjoy parts of the book, particularly the tale of Manet's A Sprig of Asparagus, and indeed how Anna smuggled the netsuke into hiding. The author's attention to detail in describing the places he visited, and ability to envisage the places and people historically was exceptional. It was made even better with the pictures in this illustrated edition. Definitely an important book in Jewish History, but overall disappointed there was little of netsuke history. ( )
  AChild | Jun 8, 2021 |
Parts of this book really gripped me, other parts were almost a struggle but I certainly learned some new things about European history. I think an interest in art and antiques would have helped my enjoyment but as it is I found the descriptions of all the treasures the family acquired somewhat tedious. However the netsuke, including the Hare of the title, were certainly the most interesting of them all and have quite a tale to tell. By tracing the owners of the collection of over 200 netsuke the author follows the fortunes of the family of his paternal grandmother-extremely wealthy Jewish bankers based in Paris & Vienna. Anyone with even a vague knowledge of the history of the last two centuries will realise this covers some momentous events.
I would recommend a visit to the author's website, as recommended at the end of the book, as there are some wonderful pictures of some of the netsuke and some further family pictures not included in the book. ( )
  Patsmith139 | Mar 15, 2021 |
Interesting read. I didn't know anything about it when I picked it up, and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Like others have said, it starts slow, but then the stories start. And the stories, and they way the author tells them, draw you in. ( )
  stevrbee | Nov 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 125 (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,

» 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
Hilzensauer, BrigitteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnová, LucieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jordana, Carles MiróTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lempens, WillekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levis, Marcelo Cohen deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindeberg, EvaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maloney, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marzi, DavideNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Middleworth, B.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miró, CarlesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, StephenDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prosperi, CarloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rugstad, ChristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sasada, MasakoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomas, GinaPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vainikainen, VirpiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zischler, HannsNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zischler, HannsNarratorsecondary 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.
First words
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...
Dit is de nieuwe, betere vertaling van het boek dat eerst onder de titel "De haas met de amberkleurige ogen" werd uitgebracht, maar niet alleen een verkeerde titel bevatte maar ook tal van fouten in de tekst zelf. Zie bijvoorbeeld https://www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws-achte...
Publisher's editors
Original language
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Canonical LCC
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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Mansions, power, art / Exile, stolen dignity / Netsuke bear witness (LynnB)

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