The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance

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“A circle of relatives memoir written with a grace and modesty that virtually belie the sweep of its contents: Proust, Rilke, Japanese art, the rue de Monceau, Vienna all through the Second World War. Probably the most enchanting history lesson conceivable.” ―The New Yorker

“An bizarre history…A wondrous book, as lustrous and exquisitely crafted because the netsuke at its heart.” ―The Christian Science Monitor

“A fantastic, gripping book.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Enthralling . . . [de Waal’s] essayistic exploration of his circle of relatives’s past pointedly avoids any sentimentality . . . The Hare with Amber Eyes belongs on the same shelf with Vladimir Nabokov’s Speak, Memory.” ―Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

“It is a book Sebald would have loved.” ―The Irish Times

“At one level [Edmund de Waal] writes in vivid detail of ways the fortunes were used to determine the Ephrussis’ lavish lives and prime positions in Paris and Vienna society. And, as Jews, in their vulnerability: the Paris circle of relatives shaken by flip-of-the century anti-Semitism surging out of the Dreyfus affair; the Vienna branch completely destroyed in Hitler’s 1937 Anschluss . . . At a deeper level, even though, Hare is ready something more, just as Marcel Proust’s masterpiece was once about something more than the trimmings of prime society. As with Remembrance of Things Past, it uses the grandeur to illuminate interior matters: aspirations, passions, their passing; all in a duel, and a duet, of elegy and irony.” ―Richard Eder, The Boston Globe

“Soaking up . . . On this book about individuals who defined themselves by the objects they owned, de Waal demonstrates that human stories are more robust than even the best artistic endeavors.” ―Adam Kirsch, The New Republic

“Delicately constructed and beautifully nuanced . . . There are lots of circle of relatives memoirs whose stories are as enticing as Edmund de Waal’s. There are few, even though, whose raw subject material has been crafted into fairly such an engrossing and exquisitely written book as The Hare with Amber Eyes . . . One of the most great triumphs of The Hare with Amber Eyes . . . isn’t just the assiduous method wherein de Waal interrogates his raw evidence–scattered articles and newspaper cuttings, old paintings, forgotten buildings–but the best way he summons up different eras so evocatively . . . [De Waal] is, too, as you might be expecting of a potter, splendidly tactile in his investigations, interrogating the physical feel of the Ephrussis’ different buildings, touching surfaces, assessing materials. This sensuality transmits itself also to his prose, which is lovely to read–lithe and precise, crisp and gentle. The result’s a memoir of the first actual rank, one filled with grace, economy, and bizarre emotion.” ―Andrew Holgate, The Barnes & Noble Review

“Remarkable . . . To be handed a story as durable and exquisitely crafted as It is a rare pleasure . . . Just like the netsuke themselves, this book is inconceivable to place down. You’ve for your hands a masterpiece.” ―Frances Wilson, The Sunday Times (London)

“From a troublesome and vast archival mass of journals, memoirs, newspaper clippings and art-history books, Mr. de Waal has fashioned, stroke by minuscule stroke, a book as fresh with detail as though it had been written from life, and as filled with good looks and whimsy as a netsuke from the hands of a master carver. Buy two copies of his book; keep one and provides the opposite for your closest bookish loved one.” ―The Economist

“What a treat of a book! It projects an iridescent mirage that when was once real, a pageant of exquisite fragility, a classy passion by some means surviving the brutalities of history. Mr. de Waal’s nostalgia is tart, tactile, marvelously nuanced.” ―Frederic Morton, creator of A Nervous Splendor: Vienna, 1888/1889 and The Rothschilds: Portrait of a Dynasty

“A self-questioning, witty, sharply perceptive book . . . The Hare with Amber Eyes is wealthy in epiphanic moments . . . By writing objects into his circle of relatives story [de Waal] has achieved something remarkable.” ―Tanya Harrod, The Times Literary Supplement

“An exquisite and ordinary book . . . [A] distinctive memoir of [de Waal’s] circle of relatives . . . De Waal has a magical ability to so inhabit the long-long gone moment as to appear to suspend inexorable history, personal and impersonal . . . A piece that succeeds in a couple of known genres: as circle of relatives memoir, commute literature (de Waal’s Japan is the closest thing to being there, and over decades), essays on migration and exile, on cultural misperceptions, and on de Waal’s try to define his relationship together with his own kaolin creations. His book could also be a brand new genre, unnamed and perhaps unnameable.” ―Veronica Horwell, The Guardian

“Part circle of relatives memoir, part Proustian confession, subtle, spare and stylish.” ―Hilary Spurling, The Independent

“A marvelously Soaking up synthesis of art history, detective story and memoir . . . A nimble history of One of the most richest European families on the flip of the century . . . Remarkable.” ―Kirkus Reviews

<a href="javascript:void(0)" data-action="a-expander-toggle" class="a-declarative" data-a-expander-toggle="all over the world, and he has recently made an installation for the dome of the Victoria and Albert Museum. He was once apprenticed as a potter, studied in Japan, and studied English at Cambridge. He's Professor of Ceramics on the University of Westminster and lives in London together with his circle of relatives.

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