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    The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss (Hardback) By (author) Edmund de Waal

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    DescriptionThe Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who "burned like a comet" in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox. The renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal became the fifth generation to inherit this small and exquisite collection of netsuke. Entranced by their beauty and mystery, he determined to trace the story of his family through the story of the collection. The netsuke--drunken monks, almost-ripe plums, snarling tigers--were gathered by Charles Ephrussi at the height of the Parisian rage for all things Japanese. Charles had shunned the place set aside for him in the family business to make a study of art, and of beautiful living. An early supporter of the Impressionists, he appears, oddly formal in a top hat, in Renoir's "Luncheon of"" the Boating Party." Marcel Proust studied Charles closely enough to use him as a model for the aesthete and lover Swann in "Remembrance of Things Past." Charles gave the carvings as a wedding gift to his cousin Viktor in Vienna; his children were allowed to play with one netsuke each while they watched their mother, the Baroness Emmy, dress for ball after ball. Her older daughter grew up to disdain fashionable society. Longing to write, she struck up a correspondence with Rilke, who encouraged her in her poetry. The Anschluss changed their world beyond recognition. Ephrussi and his cosmopolitan family were imprisoned or scattered, and Hitler's theorist on the "Jewish question" appropriated their magnificent palace on the Ringstrasse. A library of priceless books and a collection of Old Master paintings were confiscated by the Nazis. But the netsuke were smuggled away by a loyal maid, Anna, and hidden in her straw mattress. Years after the war, she would find a way to return them to the family she'd served even in their exile. In "The Hare with Amber Eyes," Edmund de Waal unfolds the story of a remarkable family and a tumultuous century. Sweeping yet intimate, it is a highly original meditation on art, history, and family, as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves.


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  • Full bibliographic data for The Hare with Amber Eyes

    Title
    The Hare with Amber Eyes
    Subtitle
    A Family's Century of Art and Loss
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Edmund de Waal
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 354
    Width: 167 mm
    Height: 220 mm
    Thickness: 31 mm
    Weight: 476 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780374105976
    ISBN 10: 0374105979
    Classifications

    B&T Merchandise Category: GEN
    B&T General Subject: 140
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: BIO
    BIC subject category V2: BGH
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T4.2
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    LC subject heading:
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    Ingram Subject Code: BA
    Libri: I-BA
    DC22: B
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 43, 01
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15800
    BIC subject category V2: ACBP
    BISAC V2.8: HIS022000
    LC subject heading:
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 20
    BISAC V2.8: ART019000
    B&T Approval Code: A02800000
    BISAC V2.8: BIO006000
    B&T Approval Code: A04502000
    BISAC V2.8: ART015100
    DC22: 909/.0492400922
    LC subject heading: , ,
    LC classification: HG1552.E64 D49 2010
    LC subject heading: , , , ,
    DC21: 909.04924009
    BISAC V2.8: ART045000
    Illustrations note
    black & white illustrations, maps
    Publisher
    Farrar Straus Giroux
    Imprint name
    Farrar Straus Giroux
    Publication date
    31 August 2010
    Review quote
    "Enthralling . . . [de Waal's] essayistic exploration of his family's past pointedly avoids any sentimentality . . . "The Hare with Amber Eyes "belongs on the same shelf with Vladimir Nabokov's "Speak, Memory."" --Michael Dirda, "The Washington Post Book World ""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 in Paris and Vienna society. 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 Globe ""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 ""Delicately constructed and wonderfully nuanced . . . There are many family memoirs whose stories are as enticing as Edmund de Waal's. There are few, though, whose raw material has been crafted into quite such an engrossing and exquisitely written book as "The Hare with Amber Eyes" . . . One of the great triumphs of "The Hare with Amber Eyes" . . . is not just the assiduous way in which de Waal interrogates his raw evidence--scattered articles and newspaper cuttings, old paintings, forgotten buildings--but the way he summons up different eras so evocatively . . . [De Waal] is, too, as you would expect of a potter, wonderfully tactile in his investigations, interrogating the physical feel of the Ephrussis' different buildings, touching surf