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Letters to Camondo


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A haunting sequence of imagined letters to the Count de Camondo -- the owner of a Parisian palace filled with beautiful objects, turned into a memorial for his lost son -- by the bestselling author of The Hare with Amber Eyes

About the Author

Edmund de Waal is an artist whose porcelain is exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. His bestselling memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes, won the RSL Ondaatje prize and the Costa Biography Award and in 2015 he was awarded the Windham-Campbell prize for non-fiction by Yale University. The White Road, a journey into the history of porcelain, was published in 2015. He lives in London with his family. www.edmunddewaal.com


Consistently illuminating... excellently illustrated... De Waal's excavation of the meanings of assimilation is considered, compassionate and appreciative of its costs... he is a wise guide to people and things that are dispersed and are collected... This book is a wonderful tribute to a family and to an idea -- Nicholas Wroe * Guardian *
Letters to Camondo immerses you in another age - one as sharply torn with rifts and bigotry, political uncertainty and changing fortunes as our own - but also a time of grace and the deliberate cultivation of pleasure... de Waal creates a dazzling picture of what it means to live graciously -- Nilanjana Roy * Financial Times *
Letters to Camondo... is subtle and thoughtful and nuanced and quiet. It is demanding but rewarding. It will make you think differently about trunks in the attic and it will make you read old letters with new eyes -- Laura Freeman * The Times *
I was deeply moved... [de Waal] has found a way to meditate on exile, migration and polarisation that feels painfully relevant -- Johanna Thomas-Corr * Sunday Times *
This is a marvellous book, elegant, tender, loving, appreciative, disturbing, a reminder of both the fragility and resilience of high culture, indeed civilisation -- Allan Massie * Scotsman *
A slim elegant volume of beautifully written letters -- Louise Carpenter * The Times *
Letters to Camondo tells de Waal's version of the Camondo story... layers of memories, hopes, fears embedded in the Musee Camondo brought alive...remarkable -- Jackie Wullschlager * Financial Times *
Moving... beautifully produced... I visited the Musee Nissim de Camondo some dozen years ago. Now I long to go back -- Gillian Tindall * Literary Review *
De Waal's ability to conjure up the personality of a character long dead through his possessions is a joy... A moving picture of the Jewish condition in Europe, always ready for flight once the scapegoating begins again, is made starkly apparent... In de Waal's hands objects stand for much bigger truths, of questions of loss and injustice -- Oliver Basciano * ArtReview *
Enchanting... the prose is immaculately polished. [Edmund de Waal's] intelligence and scholarship are fastidious, his sensibility quivers like the wings of a hummingbird -- Rupert Christiansen * The Telegraph *
De Waal's elegant prose, rapt eye for aesthetics, subtle character sketches, and nuanced musings on Jewish identity yield a rich, Proustian recreation of a lost era * Publishers Weekly *
More than chronicling the [Camondo] family's splendor and tragic end, de Waal has created a deeply hued tapestry of a lost time and a poetic meditation on grief, memory, and the fragile consolation of art... A radiant family history. * Kirkus *
de Waal's history, gives Letters to Camondo an undeniable emotional intensity -- Brendan King * Times Literary Supplement *
de Waal is a writer of grace and restlessly enquiring intelligence, and Letters to Camondo succeeds admirably... Edmund de Waal's beautiful book opens a window onto an entire lost world -- Ian Thomson * Evening Standard *
A rich and gorgeous meditation on art and grief... Beautifully written, elegantly odd and wonderfully immersive, this is a book like no other * Daunt Books *

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