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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2010 COSTA Biography Award. A total of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox: potter Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in the Tokyo apartment of his Great Uncle Iggie. Later, when Edmund inherited the ‘netsuke’, they unlocked a story far larger than he could ever have imagined.…

The Ephrussis came from Odessa, and at one time were the largest grain exporters in the world; in the 1870s, Charles Ephrussi was part of a wealthy new generation settling in Paris. Marcel Proust was briefly his secretary and used Charles as the model for the aesthete Swann in Remembrance of Things Past. Charles’s passion was collecting; the netsuke, bought when Japanese objects were all the rage in the salons, were sent as a wedding present to his banker cousin in Vienna.

Later, three children - including a young Ignace - would play with the netsuke as history reverberated around them. The Anschluss and Second World War swept the Ephrussis to the brink of oblivion. Almost all that remained of their vast empire was the netsuke collection, smuggled out of the huge Viennese palace (then occupied by Hitler’s theorist on the ‘Jewish Question��), one piece at a time, in the pocket of a loyal maid – and hidden in a straw mattress.

In this stunningly original memoir, Edmund de Waal travels the world to stand in the great buildings his forebears once inhabited. He traces the network of a remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. And, in prose as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves, he tells the story of a unique collection which passed from hand to hand - and which, in a twist of fate, found its way home to Japan.

This audio edition also features an interview with Edmund De Waal from the Vintage Books podcast.

©2011 Edmund de Waal (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

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  • Carole Rooke
  • 09-12-14

The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I was trying to read this book for book club and finding it quite impossible until my daughter suggested this audio version. It contains a lot of historical art details and unfamiliar words difficult to pronounce. Michael Maloney read the book with ease so I was able to get to the end unlike the majority of our book club who gave up before half way. A great deal of research has gone into this story and will be of interest to family members in the future.

Would you ever listen to anything by Edmund de Waal again?

No

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Descriptions of life in Japan.<br/>The best bit was getting to end before book club day. It was such a relief .<br/>Thank you Michael Maloney for making it possible.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

Since listening to this book I have seen netsuke for sale in antique shops which I had not noticed before. Anyone could start to collect them today. I had the impression that the "hare" was going to be the centre of the story, this is not the case it must just have been Edmund's favourite netsuke which he carried in his pocket while doing his family research.

  • Overall
  • Hazel
  • 04-07-13

Memory

This book is beautiful - a story of a family, European and world history of the last 2 centuries, social attitudes to women, Jews, and others, relationships, art. It is entirely about memory and perception and it's high art. It's a gripping story, accessible while being literary, and very well read. I highly recommend it to anyone looming for something a little different to the normal run of things.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sioux
  • 09-23-13

I am just so bored with this

Would you try another book written by Edmund de Waal or narrated by Michael Maloney?

No

Has The Hare with Amber Eyes put you off other books in this genre?

Pretty much

What three words best describe Michael Maloney’s voice?

Clear, good diction

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom

Any additional comments?

Too slow, aching complicated to listen to and not able to really relate to the characters portrayed. Have not even got to the end of Part 1 and am not sure I have the will to continue

0 of 1 people found this review helpful