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Customer Review

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tactile Prose, 6 May 2011
This review is from: The Hare With Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (Kindle Edition)
How is it possible to write about the sense of touch so exquisitely? Edmund de Waal's brilliant, original biography of his family, the maelstrom they lived through and their 264 perfect small netsukes was a revelation.

His attempt to engage with his kin, the previous owners of these tiny miracles of Japanese carving and observation, was full of feeling, but entirely lacking in sentimentality. However, his potter's sense of touch was the feeling that has stayed with me since reluctantly finishing the book. Not just the soft, light netsuke, but the gritty dust of rapid development in Paris and Vienna, and the cold, smooth marble that clad every surface in the family's vast mansion in Vienna.

His evocation of Proust's Paris, the cold, glittering Vienna, Nazi Europe, solid suburban England and the home of the netsuke, Japan, is astonishingly vivid and moving. The Parisian section has opened a window to that world that has driven me back to Proust's In Search of Lost Time- I only ever read the first two parts and am now reading the third.

His personal journey of exploration conveyed the obsessive pleasure of research. But his sensitive and honest appraisal of his response to his family's past shared with the reader the glory and the horror, the art and the excess, and the strength of family when all else has gone.

I was riveted by this book. The austere quality of the writing, and the intense emotion- held in check but palpable-had me mesmerised.
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