Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Hare With Amber Eyes

Whilst laid up in hospital I managed to finish two books* I started, this one I bought to read on the train to Berlin and it's one of the best books I've read. Not only enlightening but beautifully written evoking a period in history that I had previously really struggled to comprehend.
I studied European history at school, the rise of Germany and the cause and effects of both world wars. It will I know sound a tad naive but despite reading copiously around my subject and attending a lecture by the late great A.J.P.taylor I never really understood antisemitism.
I live in a country that has a deeper mistrust of catholics than Jews and growing up in Yorkshire had little exposure to anyone Jewish. To me they were a mysterious religious group who lived on the outskirts of Leeds.
This book finally unravels the mystery, it was like a veil lifting and whilst it continues to make no sense to me at all that Europe colluded unilaterally in antisemitic behaviour from day one I understand whilst still failing to really understand.
So please read this story you won't fail to be left open mouthed and amazed, a story you could not possibly make up.

I have scanned this article about the author from the Saturday Telegraph magazine

* The second book too touches on the less than exemplary behaviour of the politically naive designer, Coco Chanel, written by Justine Picardie.

I had ignored the enormous amount of hype that surrounded the release of this book, she is a journalist and boy do they suck up to their own. Picardie is the Telegraph's answer to the Times's Lisa Armstrong and the Guardian's Jess Morley Carter. Lisa Armstrong is head and shoulders better than either of the other two in terms of understanding the importance of fashion as well as it's lack of. She writes with tremendous fluidity leaving the other two flailing in her wake.

I find Picardie's writing difficult to read at the best of times, very disjointed and often lacking a grasp of what makes her reader tick. So when the book came out irritatingly she even managed to climb on that blog band wagon.

The book is impossible to read, it fails to flow and judders to a stand still every five minutes as she references some quote. Most good authors allow the facts to weave themselves into a narrative, this book is basically one long appendix and is the most irritating read ever. I staggered to end as it was all I had to read, Picaride's love of Chanel is obvious, but Chanel comes out of this book as a deeply unpleasant woman, a genius, but a flawed one.

1 comment:

materfamilias said...

It's always both a blessing and a curse when someone whose opinion I trust tells me about a good book -- blessing, of course, because I have a good bit of reading to look forward to, but a curse because that list just keeps. getting. longer.
At least you're only recommending one of the two.