The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss - Edmund de Waal I was intrigued by the title of this book which, ultimately, is what made me pick it up once I saw it on one of the tables of a bookstore. My general rule is that if a book interests me I will first read it at the library and then, if I really love it and know I'll definitely want to reread it in the future, I'll buy my own copy.

This is one of those books that I liked but didn't love. To start off biographies aren't my genre of choice and by reading this I was overcoming a big personal hurdle while reading this. I didn't love the genre any more than before and this book had it's issues with the beginning especially, starting off rather slow and taking some time to ease into a comfortable, more natural rhythm. Once it did however I really found myself enjoying the book, especially the first half. After that it was simply a matter of personal taste where I found the events to be going slower and the quotations de Waal was using to feel rather out of place and, in some cases, unnecessary.

Despite these few little "issues" this is one book that I think every person should read at least once and take in the richness of the lives of the Ephrussi family, all the details of the times and to get a general, detailed idea of just how the upper class lived in those times. Netsuki are also not a topic I'm familiar with, nor would I probably ever have been familiar with, had I not picked up this book. The way they are described and constantly brought back throughout the story, as well as the way they are the foundation for this whole book. When you realize just what they had undergone in order to end up where they are today it is quite the feat.

I would really recommend anyone to read this one, even if you're not a huge fan of history or biographies or even these time periods. The details which de Waal puts into his story, the way it all comes together in the end, the sense of life you get leaking off the pages, from the life of artists in Paris to the Nazi invasion of Austria, it's a very beautiful piece that will resonate with you for quite a long time, even if you didn't fall head over heels in love with it.