I loved the way de Waal wove together his family's narrative from multiple countries and through multiple generations. His portrayal of the characters and life in the different societies painted a clear picture for my imagination. Ultimately, this is also a story of devastation and survival of Jews in the Holocaust.
I loved learning more of the history of the family's street in Paris, where I had recently visited. The family's history is so interesting that it led me to research more about the author, his artwork, the family and the locations.
Maloney adds another element of emotion through his reading.
The history of a great European dynasty.
There's a short interview with the author at the end of the story. Great to hear his voice and gain more insight into his life and his work.
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.
This is a great memoir and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I gave it only three stars because I feel it could use some editing especially in the early portion of the story. It seems to move rather slowly in the beginning.
title, subject, etc all seemed slightly odd when a friend told me to read it asap. what a special and very moving story. what a find! loved it from start to finish.
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.
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!