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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece indeed - all about a a collection of connections
I read it myself, loved it, lived in it and couldn't put it down - so sent it as a birthday present to my 'daughter-out-law in Toronto. Haven't heard yet whether she is as enthralled by it as I was - and still am. But she darn well should be!

I bought my first copy in a a London (UK) book shop offering a 2-for-1. Made my first choice and scanned the rows for my...
Published on Sept. 18 2011 by J. Jago

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3.0 out of 5 stars An innovative construction of a family history using art objects
Edmund de Waal traces his family history, the Ephrussi family, using the device of tiny Japanese sculptures called netsuke. Through them he traces the meteoric rise (comparable with the Rothschild family) and fall (during the Nazi era). It is a bit of a tiresome read in parts if you are not as enamoured of artistic sensitivities and language, but the underlying story of a...
Published 4 months ago by Ken Wilson


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece indeed - all about a a collection of connections, Sept. 18 2011
By 
I read it myself, loved it, lived in it and couldn't put it down - so sent it as a birthday present to my 'daughter-out-law in Toronto. Haven't heard yet whether she is as enthralled by it as I was - and still am. But she darn well should be!

I bought my first copy in a a London (UK) book shop offering a 2-for-1. Made my first choice and scanned the rows for my 'bargain'. I spotted The Hare with Amber Eyes and remembered I'd read something about it, couldn't remember the review and short of time, picked it up.

What happenstance! This eloquently written, absorbing and unique family history with its complex relationships combines an eye-opening account of the horrors and dreadful depredations of the Jewish people by the Nazis. But it takes no shortcuts on the structuring of a Jewish family rising from not-quite rags to unimaginable wealth - and the means by which this is achieved.

This is a book written with considerable charm, insight and more than anything else, absolute truth.

I gave my first copy to a friend and now have another - read it and reread it again and again. A masterpiece like no other.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book i have read in ages, March 12 2011
This book has it all:history, scenery, art, emotions, subtlety, great writing, and all this from a man who is a well known potter but not a writer.
I highly recommand it; you are in for a treat!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, March 15 2013
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E. G. Berry - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A book that raises questions about our relationship to objects, to ownership of art and the meanings they have in our lives and the stories they tell of who we were in the world . And a book that, underneath, writes the history of a Jewish family during the terrible years of the two great wars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than fiction, Feb. 26 2013
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The inanimate comes alive by tracing the lineage of a family through the owners of a particular netsuke collection. The past lives through each hand that has touched these tiny wood and ivory carvings.
It's an intimate journey through time, art, fashion, political and social climates.
You will be transported.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Find, March 14 2014
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I am impressed. I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though at the beginning I was wondering if I would even get through it. De Waal is an expert writer with the ability to describe scenes vividly. I found the descriptions of Nazi Germany and the treatment of the Jews just terrifying. I learned so much about this treatment and what happened to the possessions confiscated from the Jews. As we move to more acceptance in our daily lives, many more people need to read this account and learn from it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A modern masterpiece!, Dec 5 2013
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How often does the history of a European dynasty read like a "I couldn't put it down" novel? Exciting, tragic and wise, this chronology takes us along on a voyage of discovery as we learn through the fate of a collection of miniature Japanese antiquities, how fine works of art can be feverishly sought after, then given away; cherished or dismissed; lost for years then re-discovered, understood and valued then trivialized as toys. Running parallel with the fate of these tiny sculptures ("The hare with amber eyes" is one of them) is the fate of the family who possessed them, and still does.This is a finely written and detailed chronology, superbly evocative of time and place, with beautifully and lovingly drawn portraits of family members (both black and white sheep) that come alive as the author digs ever deeper into his family's rise and fall. This book has so profoundly enriched my understanding of 19th and 20th European cultural history, I consider it among the finest books of any genre I have ever read. The illustrated edition is more expensive, but worth it for the photos, and also because for me at least, this book itself is an object I will cherish and share for many years to come.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An innovative construction of a family history using art objects, Nov. 27 2013
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Edmund de Waal traces his family history, the Ephrussi family, using the device of tiny Japanese sculptures called netsuke. Through them he traces the meteoric rise (comparable with the Rothschild family) and fall (during the Nazi era). It is a bit of a tiresome read in parts if you are not as enamoured of artistic sensitivities and language, but the underlying story of a real family is fascinating and well worth the read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A mind opening surprise., May 18 2013
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This is an extraordinary book in a number of ways. It is beautifully written by someone who is not a professional writer. It is a retelling of what we think is a familiar period of European history but which is often surprising in it's revelations. Finally, it is deeply touching; one man's search for meaning in the history of his family. I am grateful to my friend Susanne who recommended this book to me, and to Kindle which made it instantly available to me while on a traveling holiday. I urge others to read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A sad, lovely memoir, April 5 2013
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The fate of a wealthy Jewish family in 20th-century Europe has been told before, but this time it's through a collection of small Japanese objects. Beautifully written by the English ceramicist who inherited them.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars bitter disappointment, March 31 2012
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The Hare With Amber Eyes begins so well and promises so much that when it fails, it leaves the reader feeling rather queasy. The problem is so obvious, and so easily fixed, that you wonder why some strong-willed editor didn't tell Edmund De Waal that he was systematically wrecking his own book and that by changing his approach, he might have produced an enduring classic.
The problem is De Waal himself: he is everywhere, in what is a remarkable account of 264 Japanese netsuke on their winding, sometimes tragic path from Japan to a niche in De Waal's own home in England. A world-famous ceramicist, De Waal is too precious by half and he can't stop pausing, often at length, to analyze his own reactions to everything he sees. That tendency, combined with his grating use of the present tense, will have readers gritting their teeth and wanting to re-edit it for themselves.
The book begins with its strongest section, on the Paris of Marcel Proust, Edgar Degas and De Waal's own ancestor, the fabulously wealthy collector Charles Ephrussi. It is strong again on the horrors inflicted on other members of the extended family in Vienna during both world wars. De Waal offers a real, horrid sense of what it was like when the Nazis first took over Vienna in 1938: no one in the Jewish Ephrussi family is sent to the camps, and yet we have a stronger sense of the fear and chaos of the time than we get from more graphic descriptions of the holocaust.
Unfortunately, De Waal just can't stop himself. He has to repeatedly stop and ask himself how he is reacting to his own discoveries, to the point that where you begin by liking him as a narrator, by the end of the book, you want to ask him to please just shut up. This is especially true in the last, brief section, set in Odessa, by which point you'll likely be skimming along and trying to resist the temptation to toss the book in the fire. After recommending the book to several friends while still reading the first section, I had to get in touch with all of them again to suggest, in the strongest possible manner, that they avoid the temptation to read a book that should have been so very much better than it is.
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Hare With Amber Eyes
Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund Dewaal (Hardcover - Sept. 3 2010)
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