A captivating story. This is beautifully written and take you through the rise and fall of a great family. These little figurines become so much more than they seem. They become a read through time. From one area to another they hold the longings and aspirations and also the heartaches of the family. This book is a wonderful history of the last one and a half. Centuries and an incredible amount of change and atrocity and yet beauty and discovery.
This is an interesting and engaging story, but it is absurd and distracting that the narrator mispronounces one of the key words in the book consistently throughout. I don't necessarily blame the narrator, but the producer/editor should surely have caught it. Nobody would tolerate that same sloppy approach to the text; if netsuke was misspelled throughout the book version an editor would have caught it or lost his or her job. It's time to bring an equivalent standard to pronunciation in audio books. In the meantime, please at least get the key words right.
This is an amazing book on multiple levels. It is the 160 year story of a family. For the attention to detail and the use of research and imagination the author used to create the book, it is worth it alone. But it is far more. The history of that family, from Poland to Ukraine to Paris and Vienna, to Tokyo and London and America, and the world events that affected them, is a great way to appreciate how the macro affects the micro.
But there is even more. The book is also a meditation on memory, on the importance of what the psychoanalyst Winnicott called "transitional objects," external things that stand for emotions and people. The netsuke (pronounced net -sue-key by the reader and net'sky by the author in the podcast post-script) stands for an era, a variety of persons, the Jews of Europe, and the artist as creator.
I highly recommend this book, especially in the spoken form. The performance is excellent and adds to the excitement of the story. However, after I listened to the audio version I went out and bought the illustrated version of the hard cover book. The quality of that volume is also outstanding and the illustrations are a great supplement to the audio.
The narrator is fantastic, but I am not moved by the story. Too complicated for me to listen to -- would prefer to read it.
Possibly, but I would read it.
Caring, Intelligent, History
I can't remember any other book at its sort.
Very well done, although he is a fast narrator. Sometimes he speaks too quick.
No. I did it in parts because there is so much to listen to. In fact it's three stories in one book.First the search of the netsukes, then the whole of the family history and then the way Edmund de Waal did his research.
I was so lucky to have seen him in person giving his talk about the book. And then I was so impressed that I bought the book for my husband and I searched for this audible book. And I was lucky to find it.There will be a time that I will read it agian because reading with your ears is quite different than with your eyes. Can't wait to see the film.
A true story that never fails to captivate--have not read the print version, but friends who have read it say the two versions are equally fascinating.
Articulate and understated.
When Emmy and Victor were invaded by the Gestapo and thrown out of their palace.
A truly wonderful book.
...loved the trip through European history ~ Odessa, Vienna, Paris and London. I'd already read the book as did my book group, there's so much detail, 'hearing' it brought out futher insight into the Efrussi family.
Uncle Iggy, who lives in Tokyo, is memorable. the characters are all memorable in their own way.
I'm familiar with Michael Maloney's acting, I recognized his voice pretty quickly. I thought his French sounded excellent. He's just a great talent.
When the book returns to Uncle Iggy at the end and we find out more about him.
One of the best books I've ever read, I've always been a fan of European history, it was my college major.
Yes, I loved the story since it was the author researching his own family's history....if you are interested in art or the Belle Epoque era in particular, I recommend this audible book.
One of the great strengths of this book is the level of detail it provides. The whole second part of the book was stunning for how vividly it brought to life the world of Vienna both before and during WWII. It was captivating. For the first part of the book, that dealt so much with art, I found the level of detail a bit overwhelming. As someone who knows little about "the art world" and simply isn't drawn to it that much, it felt like it just went on and on sometimes. But the second part more than made up for it.
It was a powerful experience reading this, and a hugely admirable accomplishment by the author.
I haven't read the print version but I think the proper pronunciation of terms in German and Japanese added alot to the reading. Mr Maloney did a sensitive reading........ he expressed emotions in his voice that he read on the page. It brought it alive and made the listener smile and cry in turn. He also varied the pace to the fit with what he was reading.
I would compare it to The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion because it is a memoir that focuses on one particular part of the memoirist's life. Both writers could skillfully tell us the facts and then plunge us into despair or joy by their reaction to those facts.
He was always speaking as Edmund de Waal.
I've listened to it twice and will probably revisit it in a few years. I also bought the print version so I can see the photographs and copy out some sections that were particularly meaningful to me.
A fantastic book!