One of the finest books I have listened to as a devoted audiobook listener. ````
the lure of modern history intertwined with a family's poignant story
The entire book, from start to finish, commanded my attention. But the clarity given to the disintegration of cultured, empowered Jewish life in Vienna was heartrending. I realize now I did not comprehend the rapid descent into chaos. And this book speaks to the time with utter clarity and calm.
This book is the only audio book that has moved me to tears. The author has given me a window into my mother and grandmother's lives who, although not Viennese, survived Cristalnacht to escape Germany into Italy shortly thereafter. And maybe to empathize with my angry, unknowable mother.
Some depth of character or plot
Lots of names and dates and places, with no connection
I hadn't read a synopsis, so didn't really know what it was about, and was questioning whether to finish. VERY happy I did. I loved the story; the ending almost sounding contrived out of Hollywood. Beautifully written, excellent narration.
The writing is a little overwrought and florid for me, and the narrator was too intense and over the top, but the story!! So interesting. As the author follows the history of his netsuke collection, he uncovers his astounding family history and details the terrible treatment of the Jews in Europe. Highly recommend. The first quarter is a little slow going, but stick with it. It pays off.
Beautiful story to listen to - an excellent rumination on people and things. I only wish that I could have been following along on a map. The descriptions of cities and places are rich and delicious, but having never been to any of those mentioned, it came off as a bit abstract and intangible - funny, for a story about so many tangible things. Excellent endeavor overall - offered a new and unique lens to reflect upon WWII era material.
This has been recommended by several friends, so somebody obviously likes it. I keep trying to get into it and have decided to give up over half way through. There just doesn't seem to be a story line. Just an excuse to ramble on about the early part of the 20th in Vienna - something I am quite interested in, but I find it incredibly frustrating because of the flow of thought that seems to go nowhere.
I can't think of any characters, even though I know he has mentioned a number of people.
One of the best books I have ever read. Beautifully written story of a family history that is remarkable in its intimacy. A treasure.
As a maker myself, interested in materiality, touch, family history and place, Edmund de Waal's book was right up my alley when I first read it some years ago. Having some long studio days ahead, I decided to treat myself to the audiobook version, good narrative company while stitching. The story stood up to this second visit, in fact, since I was listening rather than (perhaps) scanning ahead, I think I got more out of the book this time around, and am more in awe than ever of de Waal's research and storytelling capacity. Michael Maloney reads the tale perfectly, with deft touches for the foreign accents (Japanese, French, German, Dutch) and a lovely natural engagement with the unfolding tale. I will definitely look for more books narrated by him. A real pleasure -- completed too soon!
This is wonderful narrative of the history of a collection of objects in the context of a dramatic family history. It's a great account of how we cherish objects and how historical events play a part to the memories we attach to them; a very different retelling of what perished and what survived WWII. While most books focus on the physical tortures the Jews went through during the war, this book focuses on the humanity, the dignity that was stripped of them: their prized art collections, their libraries, the so-called intellectual pursuits, and of course, the wealth that the Nazis believed should not belong to the Jews.