The Hare with Amber Eyes

A Family's Century of Art and Loss
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (10.65 hours)
Product Number: Z100125048
Released: Jun 01, 2017
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781427215703
Narrator/s: Micheal Maloney
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
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Description

The 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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Author(s): Edmund De Waal
Original Publish Date: Jun 01, 2011

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The Hare with Amber Eyes
Product Number: BX00066114
Product Number:DD21333
Product Number:Z100125048

All formats/editions

CD
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Author(s): Edmund De Waal
Narrator(s): Michael Maloney
Product Number DD21333
Released: Jun 09, 2015
Business Term: Purchase
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
ISBN: #9781427271303
eBook
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Author(s): Edmund De Waal
Product Number EB00131511
Released: Dec 02, 2013
Business Term: 52 Circ / 730 Day
ISBN: #9780374709600
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Author(s): Edmund De Waal
Product Number EB00102922
Released: Oct 28, 2013
Business Term: 52 Circ / 730 Day
ISBN: #9781429979597

Professional reviews

"The measured calmness in Michael Maloney's reading allows the listener to be immersed in de Waal's memoir. The book tells of the fortunes of the Ephrussis, a wealthy Jewish family of traders whose business dealings spread from Russia across Europe. Now their fortune is diminished, with only their netsuke collection--tiny Japanese ornamental carvings--remaining. De Waal details these objects of fascination and the family's saga, particularly how their maid, Anna, preserved the netsukes and prevented them from being looted by the Nazis. The story tends to ramble, but Maloney always keeps his focus, using pauses and a lean narrative tone to allow the listener to appreciate these unique carvings and the similarly unique family to which de Waal, a potter and curator of ceramics at the Victoria and Albert Museum, belongs. D.J.S. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine"

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