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Tony Grist

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The Hare With Amber Eyes: Edmund De Waal [Sep. 23rd, 2013|09:49 am]
Tony Grist
A collection of netsuke passes from hand to hand down the generations of a Jewish banking family. First assembled by a man who also patronized the Impressionists, it moves from fin de siecle Paris, to pre-war Vienna, to post-war Japan, to London. You could call this a family memoir, but that implies stuffiness. The narrative trips along smartly- picking the shiny stuff out of mountainous dust heaps of research.  Manet makes a good showing, Renoir reveals himself as a grouchy anti-Semite,  a restless young wife has love affairs, a studious daughter corresponds with Rilke, marries a Dutchman and converts to Anglicanism, the Nazis sweep into Austria, a gay younger son takes US citizenship, then rejects it in old age because he can't stand Nixon. It's a compressed history of our time- its tastes, its enthusiasms, its crimes.  And- wonderfully- it's all true.

[User Picture]From: glitzfrau
2013-09-23 09:02 am (UTC)
Isn't it wonderful? There are pictures of the netsuke here: http://www.vintage-books.co.uk/books/harewithambereyes/
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-23 09:46 am (UTC)
Thanks. I'll take a look.
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[User Picture]From: ooxc
2013-09-23 05:55 pm (UTC)
It's amazing, isn't it? I had no idea about all this in Oxford
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2013-09-23 07:06 pm (UTC)
When I was at school I knew a boy who had the right to call himself Prince Golitsyn. He didn't of course. I took him for granted, but I expect his family history was extraordinary too.
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