THE NUMBER ONE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE 2010 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD
264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them bigger than a matchbox: Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in his great uncle Iggie's Tokyo apartment. When he later inherited the 'netsuke', they unlocked a story far larger and more dramatic than he could ever have imagined.
From a burgeoning empire in Odessa to fin de siecle Paris, from occupied Vienna to Tokyo, Edmund de Waal traces the netsuke's journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.
'You have in your hands a masterpiece' Frances Wilson, Sunday Times
'The most brilliant book I've read for years... A rich tale of the pleasure and pains of what it is to be human' Bettany Hughes, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year
'A complex and beautiful book' Diana Athill
**ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 21st CENTURY**
[A] wonderful book
In a decade where memoir became the dominant genre, this immensely evocative family history told via the journey through the generations of some Japanese miniature figures stood out
From a hard and vast archival mass...Mr de Waal has fashioned, stroke by minuscule stroke, a book as fresh with detail as if it had been written from life, and as full of beauty and whimsy as a netsuke from the hands of a master carver.
This remarkable book... a meditation on touch, exile, space and the responsibility of inheritance... like the netsuke themselves, this book is impossible to put down. you have in your hands a masterpiece.
Few writers have ever brought more perception, wonder and dignity to a family story as has Edmund de Waal in a narrative that beguiles from the opening sentence