Inheritance. Most families have stories about the lives of our ancestors. Fortunate families have some objects that were acquired by those ancestors that connect us to the past as a part of our inheritance. Edmund de Wall is a ceramicist who inherited 264 netsuke from a favorite uncle. One of the netsuke, small intricately carved objects from Japan, provided the title of his family memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss. This finely written book tells of the Ephrussis family, wealthy grain traders and bankers from Russia whose wealth grew in the 20th century as they migrated to Paris and Vienna. Their wealth and some of their lives were destroyed by the Nazis. A family servant hid the netsuke from the Nazis, and they became the only objects that were passed along to the survivors of that tragic time. I was absorbed by this book from beginning to end and recommend it highly to any reader who enjoys how good writing can bring the past to life.
Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)
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