September 23rd, 2013


The Hare With Amber Eyes: Edmund De Waal

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.

Events Of The Day

This morning I picked up two shiny little conkers in the rabbit run.

The forecast keeps saying "cloudy" and mostly it's right but today it wasn't. The sun came out around lunchtime and stayed out all afternoon.

Lee arrived shortly after lunch with flowers from yesterday's Harvest Festival for my mother.

There was about a quarter of an apple pie left from lunch but it's all gone now. They call it comfort eating.