Letters to Camondo: ‘Immerses you in another age’ Financial Times (Paperback)Edmund de Waal (author)
The bestselling author of The Hare with Amber Eyes paints a fascinating portrait of the eminent French art collector Count Moise de Camondo and sheds light on the hitherto hidden layers of his family history.
63 rue de Monceau, Paris
As you may have guessed by now, I am not in your house by accident. I know your street rather well.
Count Moise de Camondo lived a few doors away from Edmund de Waal's forebears, the Ephrussi, first encountered in his bestselling memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes. Like the Ephrussi, the Camondos were part of belle epoque high society. They were also targets of anti-semitism.
Camondo created a spectacular house and filled it with the greatest private collection of French eighteenth-century art for his son to inherit. But when Nissim was killed in the First World War, it became a memorial and, on the Count's death, was bequeathed to France.
The Musee Nissim de Camondo has remained unchanged since 1936. Edmund de Waal explores the lavish rooms and detailed archives and uncovers new layers to the family story. In a haunting series of letters addressed to the Count, he tells us what happened next.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 322 g
Dimensions: 198 x 132 x 16 mm
'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, The 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, The 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, The 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, The 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, The Financial Times
'Moving... beautifully produced... I visited the Musee Nissim de Camondo some dozen years ago. Now I long to go back' - Gillian Tindall, The Literary Review
'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
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“Intriguing and poignant”
I was kindly sent a reading copy of this publication and read it in one sitting. The letter format makes it easy to read, it is beautifully descriptive and very gently invites us into the world of Count de Camondo.... More
“A book of tragedy and beauty”
Edmund de Waal first came to literary prominence in 2011 with the autobiographical journey of his family history in The Hare With The Amber Eyes. This book could be considered a companion text as again de Waal... More
I adored this. The inventiveness of it, the compassion, the balance of the personal to the historical, all of it.
It really does feel like a journey, like we are meeting the residents of 63 rue de Monceau as De Waal... More
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