The Hare with Amber Eyes

  • by Edmund de Waal
  • Narrated by Michael Maloney
  • 10 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2010 COSTA Biography Award. A total of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox: potter Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in the Tokyo apartment of his Great Uncle Iggie. Later, when Edmund inherited the ‘netsuke’, they unlocked a story far larger than he could ever have imagined.…
The Ephrussis came from Odessa, and at one time were the largest grain exporters in the world; in the 1870s, Charles Ephrussi was part of a wealthy new generation settling in Paris. Marcel Proust was briefly his secretary and used Charles as the model for the aesthete Swann in Remembrance of Things Past. Charles’s passion was collecting; the netsuke, bought when Japanese objects were all the rage in the salons, were sent as a wedding present to his banker cousin in Vienna.
Later, three children - including a young Ignace - would play with the netsuke as history reverberated around them. The Anschluss and Second World War swept the Ephrussis to the brink of oblivion. Almost all that remained of their vast empire was the netsuke collection, smuggled out of the huge Viennese palace (then occupied by Hitler’s theorist on the ‘Jewish Question’), one piece at a time, in the pocket of a loyal maid – and hidden in a straw mattress.
In this stunningly original memoir, Edmund de Waal travels the world to stand in the great buildings his forebears once inhabited. He traces the network of a remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. And, in prose as elegant and precise as the netsuke themselves, he tells the story of a unique collection which passed from hand to hand - and which, in a twist of fate, found its way home to Japan.
This audio edition also features an interview with Edmund De Waal from the Vintage Books podcast.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This book is truly brilliant and beautifully read. A most amazing story of an amazing family. I recommend it very highly.
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- Ruth

The Hare with Amber Eyes

A lovely, absorbing read - portal to a family history both entertaining and relevant. It was a little slow sometimes, but there were some unforgettable word-pictures of scenes and activities far away and long ago which came to life in the telling. I found the narrator's style of speech somewhat prissy, and found at the end that he had mispronounced the word netsuke from beginning to end - why didn't any check in the editing department? The interview with the author right at the end put me right. Altogether very absorbing and entertaining and all credit to the author for his thorough and painstaking research.
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- Janice

Book Details

  • Release Date: 23-03-2011
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks