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A book that hasn't quite decided what it is about...
on 2 January 2017
This book has an intriguing concept, a family story from the perspective of a set of netsuke as a family heirloom. The writing is crisp and clear and I was attracted to it on the back of many of the reviews here.
However, it is pretty ponderous in places, losing focus on more than one occasion. It's not always clear whose narrative it is following, and whether the netsuke are supposed to be featuring at all. Occasionally you start to hope that it will become part art history, part historical biography but it fulfils neither option well and at times just lists events and people rather than providing any details.
The most interesting, thought provoking and - indeed - unsettling part to this book is the description of the family history during world war two. But other than that it's very dry and not one to be re-read.