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S. Park

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The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance
by Edmund de Waal
Edition: Hardcover

71 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, but not enough pictures..., 20 Jun. 2010
I can't remember when the Economist last urged readers to "buy two copies" of a book, before this came along. I would recommend the same. The book starts out as a personal quest, a family history, and seamlessly incorporates the social, cultural and political history of 19th-century Paris and 20th-century Vienna, plus some deep thoughts on art and objects, the act of owning and losing, leaving and remembering. Sometimes people who don't write for a living outwrite all the other professionals, and Mr de Waal is one of them. Luminous, condensed, thoughtful prose. Wonderful!

The cover wasn't very enticing but it is nicely bound - it looks and feels better than the jpg image. However, there are not enough pictures (photos) to accompany the text. If you were to name your book "The Hare With Amber Eyes", and keep talking about netsuke for hundreds of pages, wouldn't the readers be entitled to look at at least SOME of them??? It helped that there was a picture accompanying the review in the Economist, so I had an idea of what they looked like from the start, but here in the book itself (I expected to find many, if not all, of the 264 netsuke in color inserts) there is not a single photograph. The eponymous hare, plus some additional photos, are featured in the paper strip wrapping the bottom 1/3 of the book (no proper dust jacket) - tiny, tiny(the size of a thumbnail). Black-and-white photos, mainly of family, are interspersed throughout but the absence of the netsuke is so frustrating. Otherwise, a quite perfect book.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2010 5:06 AM BST

As Meat Loves Salt
As Meat Loves Salt
by Maria McCann
Edition: Paperback

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love and obssession in extraordinary times., 9 May 2002
This review is from: As Meat Loves Salt (Paperback)
How come there are so few reviews of this book? I rushed to buy this after reading a glowing review of it in the Economist, and it has indeed lived up to all my expectations. Yes, the history is finely done - McCann describes 16th-century England extraordinarily well, in a flowing language that judiciously blends in archaic words, all the way down to the "dirt and grime." But McCann impresses most with what surely is a novelist's most difficult task - anchoring the timeless (and, in some writers' hands, easily threadbare) theme of love firmly enough to convince. Her story of homosexual love between a felon and an idealist in war-torn England reverberates with those universal moments - first impression, intimacy, obssession and betrayal - and the reader comes away from the book obsessed with Ferris just as much as Jacob. It also contains one of the most memorable literary epistles in recent memory (ranks along with Christabel's last letter to Ash in A. S. Byatt's Possession).

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