Tag Archives: Europe

The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal

The Hare with Amber Eyes Edmund de Waal‘The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance’ is Edmund de Waal’s highly acclaimed memoir tracing his family history through a collection of objects. In the early 1990s, De Waal studied ceramics in Tokyo as part of a two-year scholarship where he met his great-uncle Ignace (Iggie). Following Iggie’s partner’s death, de Waal inherited 264 Japanese miniature wood and ivory carvings known as netsuke often representing animals, people or mythical creatures. Traditionally used as toggles to attach carrying pouches to Japanese robes, netsuke were originally designed to be useful everyday objects rather than purely decorative ones. De Waal became intrigued by the story behind the collection and how it came to be passed down through the generations of his family across the world. Continue reading

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Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland by Sarah Moss

Names for the Sea Strangers in Iceland Sarah Moss‘Names for the Sea: Strangers in Iceland’ is Sarah Moss’s account of living in Reykjavik for a year between 2009 and 2010. Moss first visited Iceland as a child and later with a friend when she was nineteen during a university summer holiday. Some fifteen years later and now married with two young sons, she applied for a job at the University of Iceland teaching Romantic poetry and creative writing as a visiting lecturer and fulfilled a childhood dream of moving to the country with her family. Continue reading

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Zone by Mathias Énard

Zone‘Zone’ by Mathias Énard and translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell tells the story of Francis Mirkovic, a Franco-Croat intelligence officer who is travelling by train from Milan to Rome after missing his plane. He will be delivering a briefcase containing a dossier about war crimes across various parts of the “zone” where he worked – the region around the Mediterranean Sea spanning across Spain, Lebanon, Cairo and Croatia – which he plans to sell to the highest bidder thus ending his career as an agent. During the journey, Francis reflects on his twenty-year career, his future, his family, his relationships with Marianne, Stéphanie and Sashka, his fellow passengers on the train and much more. Continue reading

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Us by David Nicholls

Us‘Us’ by David Nicholls tells the story of Douglas Petersen, a middle-aged biochemist whose wife, Connie, suddenly announces that she thinks their marriage of twenty years has “run its course” and that she wants to leave him. Despite their problems, the couple set off on their long-planned family holiday touring western Europe with their teenage son, Albie, before he leaves home to study at university. However, Douglas hopes the trip will help him win Connie back and convince her to save their marriage. Continue reading

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Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure by Artemis Cooper

Patrick Leigh FermorI recently won another book from the Waterstones read and review competition in which cardholders receive a free copy of a book in return for posting an honest review on the website.  This time, it was a pot luck draw and I got a copy of Artemis Cooper’s biography of the travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor.  Again, I am not sure if I can publish my official review in full on my blog but you can read it here under the name Clare90.   Continue reading

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Au Revoir Sarko…?

The Sarkozy chapter in the history of the Fifth Republic is likely to be one that the French will want to skip over in a hurry, pretending that it never really happened.  The hyperactive President Bling-Bling might one day make a good subject for a film biopic but for now, it seems that France wants to move on with François Hollande leading in the polls after Sunday’s first round of the presidential election.  His quiet ambition stands in great contrast with the dynamic, some say erratic, style of Nicolas Sarkozy which lost its appeal very quickly after he took office in 2007. Continue reading

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