The Hare With Amber Eyes
The Hare With Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Wall (reviewed July 14th, 2017)
Edmund de Waal is an artist whose porcelain is exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. His bestselling memoir, 'The Hare with Amber Eyes', won the RSL Ondaatje prize and the Costa Biography Award. In 2015 he was awarded the Windham-Campbell prize for non fiction by Yale University. He lives in London with his family. (Source: amazon.co.uk)
‘The Hare with Amber Eyes’ (2010) is a family memoir. De Waal tells the story of his family, the Ephrussi, once a very wealthy European Jewish banking dynasty, centered in Odessa, Vienna and Paris, and peers of the Rothschild family. The Ephrussis lost almost everything in 1938 when the Nazis Aryanised their property. Even after the war, the family failed to recover most of its extensive property, including priceless artwork, but an easily hidden collection of Japanese netsuke miniature sculptures was miraculously saved, tucked away inside a mattress by Anna, a loyal maid at Palais Ephrussi in Vienna during the war years. The collection has been passed down through five generations of the Ephrussi family, providing a common thread for the story of its fortunes from 1871 to 2009. (Source: Wikipedia).
Our group rated the memoir with marks from one to four out of five, with an average of three. There was division about the vocabulary, with some enthusiasm but others disliking the complexity of the language. Several people commented that they had to consult a dictionary (e.g flaneurial) to make sense of the text!