Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Review

Believe it or not, there are other things of interest to me than cooking. If all you know of someone is what they share on their blog, you get a very one-sided view of someone's life. Maybe a delicious view, but still...

So, even though this is primarily a food blog, I'm going to share a book with you today, as I have one or two amazing others in the past. It was given to me as a hostess gift by those two food-loving newlyweds, Naomi and Sam, but that's really the only connection with food.

It is one of the best, most engrossing books I have read in a long, long time. Beautifully written, it follows the author's legacy of a collection of Japanese netsuke from the recipient back through the history of the collection to the original collector, an ancestor of the author's, to his nephew to whom he gave them for a wedding present, to their eventual return to Japan with the nephew's son. If that sounds a little dry, keep in mind that they were collected during the wave of Japonisme that fascinated the Parisian art world where the ancestor lived, then traveled to Vienna where the nephew lived just at the turn of the last century and beyond at the height of Viennese culture and its subsequent crash into war, then back to Japan in the post-World War Two period.

It's a family story but it's also a story of cultures and times and amazing events. I'd love to tell you all about it but I don't want to spoil the richness of this book for you. Get it. Read it. You will love it.

5 Comments:

Blogger namastenancy said...

I loved that book and now I have an unrequited passion for Japanese Netsuke! Unfortunately all the ones that I like are too expensive. One of the many things that I found fascinating about that book is that it's a real story - proving, yet again, that truth is stranger than fiction.

Sunday, September 25, 2011  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Thanks for the tip. I bet even Cranky would like that one. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, I thought of you when I read it and hoped you had found it, too. Knew you'd be fascinated by the contact with the Impressionists and others.

Cookiecrumb, I'm sure he would - it's nonfiction, but reads like exciting fiction. I'm getting it for my older bro for Christmas.

Sunday, September 25, 2011  
Anonymous jann said...

I have several netzuke and look forward to reading it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Jann, wow, lucky you! I'd love to see them some day.

Monday, September 26, 2011  

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