Librarian Nancy Pearl was an early enthusiast of The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, (Pbk, Picador, 8/23; Hdbk, FSG, 2010), calling it the best memoir she read last year. It’s been on the Indie Best Seller list since it was published in trade paperback in August, moving up to #8 last week. Nancy interviews de Waal on Seattle’s cable channel.

De Waal inherited a collection of tiny Japanese carvings from a great uncle. In trying to figure out why he had been chosen as the recipient, de Waal saw it as beginning of a story, which turned out to be a book about his family (and what a family it was. One of his ancestors, Charles Ephrussi, is included in Renoir’s painting, The Luncheon of the Boating Party). It is also the story of a Jewish family living in Europe from 1870 to 1938, which as de Waal says, is the story of figuring out where you belong and how to make sense of yourself “as an outsider in the middle of society.”

He reveals that he is going to write another book, about “the history of the color white” (as unlikely as that sounds, listening to him describe it, we have to agree with Nancy that it sounds “fabulous”).

Both Nancy and de Waal are enthusiastic about Ali Smith’s new novel, There But for the, published last month, and reviewed in both The NYT Book Review, and The Washington Post.

There But For The: A Novel
Ali Smith
Retail Price: $25.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Pantheon – (2011-09-13)
ISBN 9780375424090

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