‘The Hare With Amber Eyes’ by Edmund De Waal – Review (Book)

As much as I love a good story it’s sometimes nice to lose yourself in someone else’s memoirs. Often that someone is a celebrity or somebody you admire. In the case of ‘The Hare With Amber Eyes’ the main focus of the book is a collection of small Japanese ceramic figurines called netsuke.

Beginning in the late 1800’s with the author’s distant relatives, the book charts the course of the netsuke collection (all 250 of them) as they pass through generation to generation.

While it may not sound particularly riveting in practice the journey of the figurines is an impressive one, taking in multiple eras and surviving two World Wars.

Added to that is the struggle of De Waal as he looks to unlock his family history – although fortunately for him his ancestors were not only wealthy but also well documented as figures in the social scenes of the time.

‘The Hare With Amber Eyes’ is a thoroughly interesting book but does drag a little in places – it becomes bogged down in intricate detail here and there, which slows things up.

I’m not even sure who I would recommend this to? I doubt there is a huge market for netsuke among people I know or the people who read this blog (please let me know if that’s incorrect!). Obviously an interest in ceramics/pottery (which I don’t personally have) may make it more intriguing but I think if you like a mixture of memoir and story then maybe this is the book for you.

Rating: 7/10

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