The Hare with Amber Eyes book discussion group

The Greenwich Pen Women and the Perrot Memorial Library will complete its new, co-sponsored book discussion series this year on Monday, Sept. 11, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the Library’s Radcliffe Program Room with a discussion of The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance: Art, Emotion, and Memory by Edmund de Waal, facilitated by Greenwich Pen Woman Sarah Darer Littman. If you love Impressionism and/or Japanese craftsmanship, Proust, or are interested in the compelling story of the prominent Russian/European Jewish family the Ephrussis, do not miss this book or this discussion. Attendees are invited to bring a small object that evokes emotion and memory to display and discuss if time allows.

About the Book

For nearly a century, the Ephrussi family controlled a business empire in Europe, amassing wealth and objets d’art. A Parisian Ephrussi, Charles, who was a patron of the Impressionists, and inspiration for Marcel Proust’s Charles Swann, purchased a collection of 264 tiny Japanese carvings called netsuke, including a hare with amber eyes.

In 1899, Charles sent the collection as a wedding present to his cousin Viktor Ephrussi in Vienna.

When the Nazis annexed Austria in 1938, they confiscated the Ephrussi’s business interests, and their extensive art collection. The netsuke escaped their clutches, hidden in the mattress of a loyal maid, Anna, for the duration of the war.

Edmund de Waal, a noted ceramicist, inherited the netsuke from his uncle Ignace who’d left for America before the war and served in U.S. Army Intelligence. The collection provides a thread weaving together this fascinating memoir of art, history, and family.

Greenwich Pen Women, a branch of the National League of American Pen Women, is a nonprofit organization of local women artists, writers, and musicians. Find out more at greenwichpenwomen.org.

Perrot Memorial Library is located at 90 Sound Beach Avenue, ​Old Greenwich.

Free and open to the public, but limited to 20 attendees. Attendees are invited to bring a small object that evokes emotion and memory to display and discuss if time allows. Advance registration and copies of the book are available at the Library’s Circulation Desk; or call 203-637-1066, ext. 15 to register.

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