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From Barnes & NobleIn 1938, the Nazis annexed Austria. Systematically, they began to strip the Jews of their property, confiscating paintings, books, jewelry, and objets d'art. Everything of beauty and value was lost to these people and their families. But thanks to a clever maidservant, who each day squirreled away a few pieces of Japanese netsuke in her apron pockets, a collection of intricately carved ivory was miraculously saved for de Waal's family.
This act of loyalty is just one of the intriguing tales involving an antique netsuke collection that has been in de Waal's family since the 1870s, and through which he traces his family history as it passed from person to person, across two continents and five generations. Along the way, readers meet de Waal's colorful ancestors, like Charles Ephrussi of Paris: art connoisseur, friend to impressionist painters, and the model for Proust's character Swann in Remembrance of Things Past. A natural researcher, de Waal provides tantalizing glimpses into the life of each owner, with rich details about the art, architecture, fashion, literature, celebrities, and politics of the times.
Written in a tender, poignant voice, The Hare with Amber Eyes is an exquisite history of an Old World family, of the society in which they lived, and of their beloved objects. It's a tale of art and wealth, of survival and the bittersweet memories of family heirlooms lost and found.