The Hare with Amber Eyes – Required Reading
January 1, 2013 § 3 Comments
It seemed apropos that I finish my latest read, The Hare with Amber Eyes, on the eve of a brand new year.
The book, historical non-fiction written by Edmund de Waal, was deftly researched and written with care, carefully connecting the dots of De Waal’s own family history as it related to a collection of small hand-carved Japanese animals and mythical creatures (264 netsuke), created and purchased in the late 18th century.
The stories, spanning time (and every corner of our globe), resonated so much that I felt I must urge my dear readers to pick it up.
But how could I encourage the reading of this book in a way that makes a person understand that this is not a passive request?
Consider this your adult assigned reading, similar to the assigned summer readings of our youths. Those books helped mold us into better people and gave us an understanding of ourselves (i.e. Anne Frank, Catcher in the Rye, Little Women).
Despite my initial frustration with French words that stuck to my tongue (in the earliest chapters I cursed my elementary school decision to study Spanish over French), my patience was remunerated as I began to learn of the people who did their best to live the lives they were handed (in far away places like Odessa and Vienna and Japan).
Do not let your own limitations keep you from this book.
De Waal’s vocabulary is not simple. The story is not simple (none of our stories are simple). But if you take the time to invest, you will be rewarded with intricate mental images created from intelligently strung together words that reads like a novel (p.s. I had to look some up, I won’t lie). You will understand things you didn’t, learn things you hadn’t known; in regard to yourself, history in time (much we must never repeat), and the whole-wide-world around us.
As I mentioned at the start, it was apropos to finish this book on New Year’s Eve. With a new year upon me, I wonder how the life I write for myself might read (inspire, uplift, teach or warn) to people I may never know; my far-future kin.
Have you read it? If not, will you now?