Customer Reviews for

The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

An incredible story that will appeal to art and literature lovers

As someone who rarely (if ever) reads non-fiction, I found myself sucked into Hare with Amber Eyes. Literary and artistic allusions abound - the narrator's grandmother had an ongoing correspondence with poet Rainer Maria Rilke, his great grand uncle was the model for Pr...
As someone who rarely (if ever) reads non-fiction, I found myself sucked into Hare with Amber Eyes. Literary and artistic allusions abound - the narrator's grandmother had an ongoing correspondence with poet Rainer Maria Rilke, his great grand uncle was the model for Proust's Swann and one of the first backers of the Impressionists, etc. Highly recommended.

posted by MattMullin on May 20, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Fascinating, beautifully written, informative

A fascinating story of the history of one very successful Jewish family from about mid 1800's to post WWII, including their experience with Nazism, related by following the movement of their art works in this time period.

posted by 173787 on April 23, 2012

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    A wonderful book by a talented writer. Part family memoir, part

    A wonderful book by a talented writer. Part family memoir, part holocaust narrative, de Waal's meditations on the nature of our relationships with objects is fascinating -- what they displace in the world, what we choose to hold, to touch, how their loss affects us, and how they stand as metaphors for how we live. The narrative is framed by de Waal's quest to understand how a collection of netsuke's (the small, intricately carved Japanese objects used to weight the end of obis -- kimono belts), which he now owns, came into the family possession.

    De Waal, who is an acclaimed potter, comes from an intriguing family. The once-fabulously wealthy began as grain merchants in Odessa and rose to international prominence as bankers at the center of the art world of Belle Epoque Paris (hobnobbing with Proust, Degas, Renoir and other such luminaries) and Vienna just prior to World War II. The author writes about their lives with imagination and elegance. His description of the moments when Vienna fell and the Palais Ephrussi, the family home (albeit an unusually grand one), was overrun by Gestapo is both heartbreaking and horrifying.

    The last section of the book, dealing with the author's uncle in Japan is less evocative, and perhaps this is merely because it can't help but pale in comparison to the previous sections. Then, too, de Waal has a moment of odd crankiness when he snaps at a friend who questions his determination to keep the museum-worthy collection rather than return it to Japan. He states he has every right to keep the netsukes.

    "No, I answer. Objects have always been carried, sold, bartered, stolen, retrieved and lost. People have always given gifts. It is how you tell their stories that matters."

    Is this true? I don't think so, not entirely. The first part is undeniable, but the second -- that it is only the stories that matter -- I cannot agree with. I think of the sacred objects that have been stolen from First Nations people, for example, and I believe they should be returned. The fact people have always stolen, bartered or given them away is not moral justification. I do, as a writer, understand the power of stories, but cannot use this power to negate my responsibilities, not even if Renoir painted my ancestors, not even if Proust wrote about them.

    Still, even with this criticism, it is a thought-provoking and interesting read. Highly recommended.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    Worth Sticking Through

    While this starts really slow, towards the end, the lessons in history are phenomenal. This book brought a lot of memories back to me about my childhood.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2012

    Portrait of a Century

    Overall the book is fascinating, particularly in its graphic and horrible descriptions of the Nazi takeover in Vienna. I know a good deal about this, and this is the most accurate description I have read. I also thought that the sections on Charles in Paris were fascinating, and how he had the intelligence to buy up so many impressionists when they could be bought for so little. My only negatives were a little more on dresses and styles than I cared about. But overall the music was a very interesting read.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    definitely one I recommend

    If you like history and art - in a biographical format, this is the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    Dawn

    You not active. You should join moonpack at books and scrolls first res. Im dawn and i hang out at scavenger all results.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Very good book!

    Worth the time to read this one. Take a look.

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    Posted October 17, 2012

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