Friday, March 11, 2011

#netsuke #collection The Hare With Amber Eyes #fiction review

God of very small things

De Waal is relatively unknown in India, but his ceramic works and installations are well-known elsewhere, and he is considered one of Britain’s most skilled ceramic artists. The collection of 264 netsuke — bibelots originally carved and made in Japan, where they were the ornamental fasteners for containers to be worn with samurai clothing — were part of his inheritance from an eccentric and beloved uncle, Iggie Ephrussi.

The true brilliance of The Hare With Amber Eyes lies not just in the gripping story De Waal has to tell, or the exquisite precision of his prose, but his honesty. He uses his research to imagine, but he never invents; and by respecting the limits of any investigation into the past, he recreates it with far more accuracy than if he had invented it. Writing of his work as a potter, of the way in which he understands how small objects displace a part of the world around them, de Waal explains: “How objects get handled, used and handed on is not just a mildly interesting question for me. It is my question.”
The Hare With Amber Eyes is his answer, and it is one of the most moving, and most haunting, non-fiction books that you will read this year.

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