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Showing 1-10 of 51 reviews(1 star). Show all reviews
on August 12, 2012
This was the most tedious book I've read in a long time. I was extremely interested in the story of the Ephrussi family and the history involved, however after forcing myself through 351 extremely tedious pages, I was disturbed to find that even the author admits he was not quite sure about the real subject of his book. The book reads like a preponderous and extremely wordy textbook. I have a well developed vocabulary and read quite a bit, but I often found myself in the dictionary looking up obscure words (whose meanings were not apparent through context), and often found that what was being written could have been done with much more clarity and conciseness. I kept thinking the book would get better, but was disappointed at every turn. All in all it made a compelling story about family and loss preponderous and overbearing. I don't know why it received the editorial acclaim.
77 comments| 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 11, 2012
This book was highly recommended to me, and so without further ado I downloaded it in anticipation of a well chosen delight to start reading within a few days. SNOOZEFEST. The prologue itself is enough to drive one mad. Must be 30 pages or something. Then , once you start the first chapter you realize the author actually has a well honed sense of never getting to the point. I fell asleep out of frustration and never opened the book again. painfully written. If there is a story here, it is not worth the effort of discovering that because the process is too painful. I walked my dog. I am better now.
0Comment| 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 26, 2012
OK, so I wish I had read the Amazon reviews before picking this up as an impulsive buy in Barnes & Noble. I should love this book - I love art, love history, it sounds quirky, appears to be well researched and I have a special interest in European/WWII. And yet . . . it is just soooo sloooooow starting that I can't make myself get past the second chapter. A 30-page prologue is 29 pages too long. I want to like this story - but I just can't make myself read it. Action is non-existent; plot is non-existent. I'm dumbfounded at the raving reviews this book has received and wish I could return the book.
0Comment| 24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 15, 2014
I think the subject "The Hare with The Amber Eye" was a red herring. The netsukes were not illustrated nor given the attention they deserved. I was not interested in the genealogy, portraits of ancestors and former abodes, much less the wealth the family had lost. Chinese people lost wealth, great works of art, priceless china because of the "Cultural Revolution" - The book was also a very boring, slow read.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 4, 2014
I chose a low rating because I felt that the book was pompous in both its style and use of vocabulary. Had the author wanted readers to know that he spoke several languages and had an extensive vocabulary, he might have stated this at the beginning of the book. The author had a story to tell of his family, and it was an interesting story, but instead of telling it with clarity, in a straight forward manner, he chose to confuse the story with seldom used vocabulary and french. A geneoloy chart would have helped.
11 comment| 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 13, 2013
I was astounded to see so many five stars. It made me wonder if all the positive reviews were from actual readers and not publishing company employees. Maybe all the diehard collectors of the world reviewed this?

When I started reading this book, I assumed the netsuke would be a metaphor for something, or at least serve to weave together stories about interesting people. But instead it was a book literally about little objects passing from one bland individual to the next. Maybe the netsuke were a metaphor for boredom. It sure seemed like it.

This book was not really a narrative. It was just a bunch of disconnected descriptions of opulent places, expensive art, and colorless rich people. In the end, nothing really happened. Wow, laquer boxes, paintings, little carvings. Whoop-dee-doo. Not for me.

There is a part around page 50 where the author brags about his relative being the first to use a certain obscure, artsy word in print. It's always hard to know if the Brits are joking; but if he was serious, then how lame. That stuck in my mind to the end.

Somebody had sent this to me, I guess because I live in Japan, and my grandmother had collected antiques from the Far East, including some netsuke. The antiques have some sentimental value, but I don't understand the obsession with the objects themselves.
11 comment| 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 16, 2016
Just terrible. My book club read it and there were a few who liked it. Was most boring read. It really was about small objects some gentleman was drawn to. Would not recommend it.
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on April 28, 2013
This book has an excess of detail without making you care about the main characters. there are too many characters and you need to keep going back to work out who is who.It is an emperors new clothes book because it is supposed to be a good book but actually isn't.
0Comment| 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 10, 2016
ugh. very dense and dull
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on May 15, 2016
Tedious family history.
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