This is a complex tale involving Jewish families involved in banking their rise and fall due to the Second World War, Vienna society and how they managed to escape with their few belongings. All of this turmoil is wrapped up by the small Japanese character carvings known as Netsuke. The Author creates this book by exploring his families past on how he came by this collection of unusual tactile ivory carvings.
It took me a while to really get into this book, but it is beautifully written and at no point did I feel like giving up on it. It is written from a very unusual perspective and although I have read a lot about this subject, this approached it from a very different angle and once again reminded me of the plight of the Jews during the Hitler years and the terrible injustices that took place during this time.
Such an amazing journey through centuries and cities with one of the most famous Jewish families. The is a very nicely elaborated story with many enchanting details about Ephrussi family. The book grabbed my mind and I could not stop reading it. I traveled through decades, people's lives and historical events. After you are done with the book, it feel you have become a part of the family. I truly loved it!
This was recommended by a friend at a Christmas dinner party. I hope to read it on a cruise to the Caribbean in January - this time we will be merely passengers & so NOT working as lecturers. Maybe I will use it as the basis fro a lecture to our History Society at U3A. When I have read it maybe I will be able to write a proper review !! Delivery was within 24 hours of ordering the book - well done
I looked at the previous reviews with much relief. I am still trying to finish this book within the next few days before our group meet. I felt the list of acquisitions was quite interesting with the titbits of references to the impressionist artists of the day. I too tried skimming and found the WW2 sections were very sad. I will plough on but will be relieved if and when I finish it.
Yes ceramic pieces - and Japanese ones at that - seem like an odd basis for a story but that's what makes the book so unusual and intriguing. This is a very personal story of prominent Austrian family which unfolds through the 'travels' of the family's ceramic collection.
Christine Brown-Quinn Author, Step Aside Super Woman