Edmund de Waal
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
The definitive illustrated edition of the international bestseller
Two hundred and sixty-four Japanese wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox: Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in his great-uncle Iggie’s Tokyo apartment. When he later inherited the netsuke, they unlocked a far more dramatic story than he could ever have imagined.
From a burgeoning empire in Odessa to fin de siècle Paris, from occupied Vienna to postwar Tokyo, de Waal traces the netsuke’s journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. With sumptuous photographs of the netsuke collection and full-color images from de Waal’s family archive, the illustrated edition of The Hare with Amber Eyes transforms a deeply intimate saga into a work of visual art.
One sunny April day I set out to find Charles. Rue de Monceau is a long Parisian street bisected by the grand boulevard Malesherbes that charges off towards the boulevard Pereire. It is a hill of golden stone houses, a series of hotels playing discreetly on neoclassical themes, each a minor Florentine palace with heavily rusticated ground floors and an array of heads, caryatids and cartouches. Number 81 rue de Monceau, the Hôtel Ephrussi, where my netsuke start their journey, is near the top of the hill. I pass the headquarters of Christian Lacroix
“Enthralling . . . Belongs on the same shelf with Vladimir Nabokov’s Speak, Memory.” —Michael Dirda, The Washington Post
“Absorbing . . . In this book about people who defined themselves by the objects they owned, de Waal demonstrates that human stories are more powerful than even the greatest works of art.” —Adam Kirsch, The New Republic
“At one level [Edmund de Waal] writes in vivid detail of how the fortunes were used to establish the Ephrussis’ lavish lives and high positions . . . And, as Jews, of their vulnerability: the Paris family shaken by turn-of-the-century anti-Semitism surging out of the Dreyfus affair; the Vienna branch utterly destroyed in Hitler’s 1937 Anschluss . . . At a deeper level, though, Hare is about something more, just as Marcel Proust’s masterpiece was about something more than the trappings of high society. As with Remembrance of Things Past, it uses the grandeur to light up interior matters: aspirations, passions, their passing; all in a duel, and a duet, of elegy and irony.” —Richard Eder, The Boston Sunday Globe
“To be handed a story as durable and exquisitely crafted as this is a rare pleasure . . . You have in your hands a masterpiece.” —Frances Wilson, The Sunday Times (London)
“A family memoir written with a grace and modesty that almost belie the sweep of its contents: Proust, Rilke, Japanese art, the rue de Monceau, Vienna during the Second World War. The most enchanting history lesson imaginable.” —Claudia Roth Pierpont, The New Yorker
“The book not only of the year, but of the decade.” —Michael Howard, The Times Literary Supplement
“Elegant. Modest. Tragic. Homeric.” —Stephen Frears, The Guardian
“As full of beauty and whimsy as a netsuke from the hands of a master carver. Buy two copies of his book; keep one and give the other to your closest bookish friend.” —The Economist
“Wise, strange, and gripping.” —A.S. Byatt, The Guardian