The White Road
Journey into an Obsession
Author: Edmund de Waal; Read by Michael Maloney
An intimate narrative history of porcelain, structured around five journeys through landscapes where porcelain was dreamed about, fired, refined, collected, and coveted.
Extraordinary new nonfiction, a gripping blend of history and memoir, by the author of the award-winning and bestselling international sensation, The Hare with the Amber Eyes.
In The White Road, bestselling author and artist Edmund de Waal gives us an intimate narrative history of his lifelong obsession with porcelain, or "white gold." A potter who has been working with porcelain for more than forty years, de Waal describes how he set out on five journeys to places where porcelain was dreamed about, refined, collected and coveted-and that would help him understand the clay's mysterious allure. From his studio in London, he starts by travelling to three "white hills"-sites in China, Germany and England that are key to porcelain's creation. But his search eventually takes him around the globe and reveals more than a history of cups and figurines; rather, he is forced to confront some of the darkest moments of twentieth-century history.
Part memoir, part history, part detective story, The White Road chronicles a global obsession with alchemy, art, wealth, craft, and purity. In a sweeping yet intimate style that recalls The Hare with the Amber Eyes, de Waal gives us a singular understanding of "the spectrum of porcelain" and the mapping of desire.
In The News
“De Waal reveals the depths and permutations of his life-shaping fascination with porcelain . . . [He] brings a historian’s ardor for detail and a poet’s gifts for close observation and radiant distillation to this exquisite chronicle of his extensive porcelain investigations . . . De Waal’s passionately and elegantly elucidated story of porcelain, laced with memoir and travelogue, serves as a portal into the madness and transcendence of our covetous obsession with beauty.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
"[Michael] Maloney's honed acting skills offer a smooth, easy-to-follow narration. His cultured English accent suits de Waal's worldly perspective, and he adeptly handles names and phrases in French, Chines, German, and Italian, as well as technical jargon, without a hitch, A great, informative performance." -AudioFile.com