The ProsenPeople

Writing Biography: The Historian’s Challenge, Part 1

Tuesday, November 06, 2012 | Permalink
Gerald Sorin's most recent book, Howard Fast: Life and Literature in the Left Lane, is now available. Gerald won the 2003 National Jewish Book Award in History for Irving Howe: A Life of Passionate Dissent. He will be blogging here for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning all week.

For historians, writing biography presents a number of challenges. One of the more important comes from scholars who tend to classify biography as “an inferior type of history.” For example, three years ago the American Historical Society staged a roundtable on “biography as history,” invitations to which included the following : “For a long time historians have been ambivalent about the genre of biography…. Many are skeptical of the capacity of biography to convey the kind of analytically sophisticated interpretation of the past that academics have long expected.”

But we biographers, even those such as myself who want to write cross-over books accessible to the educated lay public, don’t simply chart the course of a life from womb to tomb; we examine our subjects in dialectical relationship to the multiple worlds they inhabit, social, political, and cultural. My two subjects, Howard Fast and Irving Howe, for example, rose from immigrant poverty to eminence and wealth, and in Fast’s case immense wealth. Both were also political activists, and literary figures. And both bore the privileges, burdens, and complexities of being Jewish. Both were also involved, directly and indirectly, with events important to shaping the world of the twentieth century. It would have been next to impossible to neglect social context in biographies of these men.

Biographers are also often accused of voyeurism and sensationalism. Indeed, perhaps as acts of self-defense, several women and men of note have written their own biographies or memoirs – Howe wrote at least one, depending how you count; Fast, two – conceivably as a way of making one’s own case before a prosecutorial or gossip-mongering historian/biographer might appear on the scene. Elsa Morante, the Italian writer and wife of novelist Alberto Moravia, left a warning for biographers: To expose “the private life of a writer is gossip,” she said, “and gossip no matter about whom offends me.” Janet Malcolm, the controversial American journalist goes further, characterizing biographers as burglars, parasites, and obsessive stalkers who trespass and injure.

But there is no escape from the "private" for anyone involved in the biographical process, which by necessity is an act of conscious psychological intrusion. From my reading of Fast’s personal correspondence and my questioning of his family members I learned, for example, that the prolific novelist was disliked for his insensitivity and arrogance by many relatives, including his children; that he had an enormous ego which, as his grand-daughter said, made it clear that he “could be the only star in the room;” and that though married to his first wife Bette for 57 years, Fast had had several affairs, some with actresses when he was a screenwriter in Hollywood in the 1970s. I also discovered that Fast could be quite generous. He quietly supported his older sister for most of her life; he helped his brother financially from time to time; he gifted his house to his daughter and her husband when he moved into a larger one, and without hesitation he took in friends in trouble or neighbors in danger.

One might ask whether this kind of information ought to be included in a biography of a man whose central story was neither his generosity, nor his tendency to alienate those around him, nor his imitation of Don Juan, but his rise from neglected street kid to world-renowned writer worth many millions of dollars—and who in the midst of his remarkable journey not only became a Marxist, but by the late 1940s, had become the public face of the Communist Party in America – a transformation which had momentous consequences for his life, his writing, and his sense of identity.

For some historians Fast’s arrogance and infidelities might be irrelevant. For me, a historian who is also a biographer, the information is important not so much because there are links, even if indirect, between Fast’s personal life and his politics and his writingbut even more importantly, because his private behavior (or anyone else’s for that matter) is a significant part of his identity, and so belongs in what anthropologist Clifford Geertz calls “thick description” – an attempt at explanation which makes the subject’s behavior more fully meaningful to readers who don’t have the same or similar experiences.

Which brings me to yet another challenge: can the biographer or their readers really know the subject fully?

Check back here on Thursday for Part 2.

JBW talks with Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat

Monday, November 05, 2012 | Permalink

JBC reviewer Jeff Bogursky talks with the former Ambassador to the EU about Israel, Jewish continuity, and the role being Jewish has played in his career as a public servant.

Jeff Bogursky: I noticed the names of your seven grandchildren in the book. Five of them have Hebrew names, and two of them have American names. Is this due to the location that your two sons have chosen to live, or the lifestyle they’ve chosen?
Stuart Eizenstat:
Well, the five who have Hebrew names, Menachem, Bracha, Eliezer, Michal, and Yitzchak are from our oldest son, who is a baal teshuva and orthodox, and the other two are from our son in New York who is Conservative. One thing that has given me a powerful sense of identification is that both my grandfather, who made Aliya at the age of eighty-something from Atlanta after having arrived there from Russia in 1904, and my great grandfather, are buried to the public cemetery in Petach Tikva, only one row apart. We have many other relatives and friends in Israel, but to have your grandfather and great grandfather buried there creates a very powerful bond.

JHB: You were the chief domestic advisor to President Carter in 1976. You are a lawyer, but you have done so many things over many years of public service. Talking to young people, how does one start a career such as yours?
I started in 1963, when I was selected as a Congressional intern while attending the University of North Carolina. I got the bug from there, came back in 1964 to work on the Johnson presidential campaign. I went to Harvard Law School. Right after that I went to work in the Johnson White House for a year, serving as his Research Director. When he decided not to run, I went back to Atlanta and clerked with a Federal judge, then became a Policy Director for Jimmy Carter’s gubernatorial campaign, and then four years later for his presidential campaign.

JHB: When you think of yourself, do you see yourself in any way playing the role of the Shtadtlan, or Court Jew?
: No, I strongly reject that designation. If that’s what I was, or that’s how I was perceived, I could never have had the influence that I did. Everyone knew I was Jewish, knew I had Jewish values and Jewish concerns, but I was not the Jewish advisor to Carter, I was the domestic policy advisor. I was not the Jewish Ambassador to the European Union, I was the Ambassador to the European Union who was Jewish. I was not Under Secretary of Commerce, or Under Secretary of State, or Deputy Treasury Secretary as the Jew; I was there because of my ability and competence. Now, I brought Jewish values and that’s what led me to push the Holocaust Restitution to the forefront during the Clinton administration, and to recommend that President Carter create the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, and to create a special visa category to save Christians, Bahai’s, and Jews from the Iranian Revolution. In other words, I brought with me Jewish perspectives and insights, but I was always perceived, because I was, essentially an American, who was a policy expert with political skills. Everyone knew I had a perspective that was sustained by Judaism, but I was absolutely not the Court Jew or I would have been just a figurehead.

Continue reading

Super Tuesday

Monday, November 05, 2012 | Permalink

Haim Watzman is a Jerusalem-based writer, journalist, and translator. He is the author of Company C: An American’s Life as a Citizen-Soldier in Israel and A Crack in the Earth: A Journey Up Israel’s Rift Valley, which will be available as ebooks this week. Haim was a 2008 finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. He will blogging here all week for the Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

My Dad and I never watched the Superbowl together. Nor the NBA championships, the World Cup, or the World Series. In my family, the only person who watched sports on television was my grandmother, who never missed an Indians or Browns game. So I grew up with a warped sense of manhood. Watching guys throw balls around was for old ladies. My Dad and I did our small-screen-mediated male bonding on election night.

So I’m happy to report that when this post appears I’ll be on my way from Jerusalem to Denver to spend my first election night with Dad in more than three decades. Tuesday night he and I will be munching pizza and popcorn as we watch the returns come in and tally electoral votes and Senate seats.

Dad, a longtime newspaper reporter, was my first coach in political analysis, as well as in writing. His politics are liberal Democrat; his style is terse, simple, and to the point (he would disapprove of the previous semicolon and these parentheses). So it’s not surprising that I occasionally try my hand at political satire. At its best, it’s a genre that forces readers think about their beliefs in a new way. Furthermore, it can help those of us jaded by the horserace coverage that all too often passes for political journalism to remember that politics is as much a necessary part of our lives as love is, and that it’s important that we get both right.

That’s what I tried to do in my latest “Necessary Stories” piece, published in the current issue of the Jerusalem Report. Called “Persuasion,” it’s a love story in the style of Jane Austen, set in the run-up to the current election.

The Jerusalem Report has given me a platform that few writers enjoy and for which I’m extremely grateful (especially to Eetta Price-Gibson, who offered me the perch during her tenure as editor of the magazine). Once each month I get three pages where I can write whatever I want—memoir, satire, or short story. As I’ve transitioned in recent years from writing journalism and non-fiction into writing fiction, it’s given me a place to experiment with subjects and techniques. Some of my Necessary Stories are funny, some sad, some wistful. By arrangement with the magazine, they are also available in full on my blog, South Jerusalem.

If you like the latest one, you might also sample “Plane Story,” about an encounter with strangers and storytelling on a Delta flight, and “Bananas,” a tale from the immigrant camp that used to occupy the part of Holon where some of my in-laws live. I also recommend “Winter” and “Spring,” the first two installments in a quartet of army stories collectively called Duties of the Heart. “Summer” and “Autumn” are too long for my three pages in the Report and are currently seeking homes elsewhere.

Don’t tell Dad about all those ridiculously long sentences in “Persuasion.” He’d give me a stern lecture on style and we might miss some key returns and projections.

Visit Haim Watzman's official website here.

New Reviews

Friday, November 02, 2012 | Permalink

This week's reviews:


For the Sake of Unification

Friday, November 02, 2012 | Permalink
Earlier this week, Lisa Alcalay Klug wrote about a surprising discovery in Nachlaot and about how her work is informed by her father's experiences during the Holocaust. She has been blogging here all week for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

Soon after learning my late grandmother’s family lived in Nachlaot, I accepted an invitation for Shabbat dinner from sweet friends, Mottle and Batya Wolfe. Spending Shabbat in Nachlaot definitely felt like the most fitting way to honor my newly discovered roots. When I shared how much I wanted to spend more time where my grandmother grew up, the Wolfes seemed to read my mind and invited me to their seder. I was so touched by their invitation, but Passover was four months away. I was still touring for Cool Jew in what was fast becoming the Energizer Bunny of book tours. It just kept going and going... Could I really return so soon?

At my next stop, Limmud UK, the answer effortlessly appeared. Several participants suggested I present at Limmud Berlin and Limmud Amsterdam, both slated for May. I could fly early to Europe, add on a trip to Israel for Passover and return in time for both conferences. I would barely be home between now and then but I was used to that (!) and Passover in Nachlaot was clearly where I was meant to be... It just kept getting validated. Was it the luck of Cool Jew, my grandmother's orchestrations on high or something else at work?

The time flew by. Finally, I landed at Mottle and Batya’s seder. They urged me to share my story again with their guests. I had long known my grandmother was born in Israel but I didn’t know she grew up in Nachlaot, near Ohel Moshe Street, where it meets Rehov Aryeh Levin, named for the great tzaddik of Jerusalem. The story kept growing...

In two weeks, it would be the 28th of Nissan, designated by the Hebrew letters kaf-chet, which form the word koach/strength. The day is the anniversary of my father’s liberation day from Buchenwald, the yahrzeit of my grandmother whose portrait I found displayed in Nachlaot and my Hebrew birthday. I planned to sponsor a Shabbat kiddush in memory of my grandmother, in honor of my father and as act of gratitude on my birthday. I had no idea where, but the less I planned, it seemed, the more the Universe provided.

One afternoon during Passover, I went to Gan Sacher to meet friends. When they called to cancel, I realized I was so close to Nachlaot, I thought I’d "visit" my family's portrait in the same ways others visit graves. I navigated Nachlaot's twists and turns, delighted when I found it. I stayed for a few moments, marveling, again, over the discovery, realizing she and my great-grandparents and many other relatives had stood here, too, long before images were ever embedded in these stone walls. As I was leaving, I was stunned to find the gate of an adjacent synagogue slightly open. Without hesitation, I wandered through the gate and climbed the stairs, then stood silent on a landing. Through a glass door, I could see a group of men engaged in study. One stood up, approached the door and gave up a thumbs up, motioning me upstairs. I nodded. I wanted to see what I could find out about the portraits, but if mincha, the afternoon prayers, were part of the plan, "Okay," I thought, "I'll roll with it."

We climbed a narrow set of stairs outdoors to a heavy door he unlocked. I continued alone, up another narrow set of stairs indoors to the ezrat nashim. The women’s balcony offered a spectacular view of an elaborate Sefardi sanctuary. The magnificent ceiling was painted blue with gold stars. It was so close I could practically touch it. The imaginary sky met graceful renderings of the twelve tribes. Oriental rugs surrounded a raised bima and variations on an elaborate parochet, an embroidered velvet curtain, covered several spots along the walls. My favorite decoration of all was the large red neon crown adorned with the four letters of the tetragrammaton. I laughed. It was Imperial margarine meets Cool Jew.

Within a few minutes, prayers began in the Mizrachi nusach; eventually two women and young girl joined me. Through the window behind us, the sun set over Jerusalem. Finally, after maariv, I retraced my path downstairs and cautiously waited until someone motioned me through the glass doors. I asked in Hebrew for the rabbi. His name was Rav Moshe and he was delighted to hear I was related to those "embedded in the walls." When I explained I wanted to commemorate my grandmother’s yahrzeit on an upcoming Shabbat, he corrected me with the correct Sefardi terminology. He invited me sponsor the azkara on the appropriate weekday. This charming shul, the Great Synagogue of Ohel Moshe, was the only house of worship with a section for woman during my grandmother’s childhood. So this, he said, was it: her shul. I was so moved and so surprised. Like a new stanza of "Dayenu," I wouldn't have been there if my friends hadn't canceled, or if I hadn't arrived in time for services, or returned for Passover, or gone to Limmud, or found the portrait on display, or opened David's email, or met him at Jewlicious, or written Cool Jew...

Days later, in nearby Mahane Yehuda, I shopped for traditional items served at an hazkara. Mezonot/grains (crackers and cookies), pri haetz/fruit of the tree (dates), pri haadama/fruit of the ground (peanuts) and sh’hakol, which loosely translates as "everything"not covered by another blessing (drinks). That day, Rav Yitzchak, who searched with me for the image of the unknown Alcalays and many other dear friends showed up.

We davened mincha and maariv and read chapters of the Zohar to elevate the soul of my grandmother, Yehudit bat Yitzchak. Afterwards, the shul regulars and my friends, said blessings over the refreshments and we drank l'chaim to my grandmother's memory, my father's long life, everyone present and my birthday. I retold, once again, the story of discovering my grandmother’s roots in the neighborhood and the unusual unification of my Sefardi grandmother, my Ashkenazi father and my own entry into this world.

I felt then, as now, grateful for the Providence of marking that moment in Jerusalem, for our connections to each other and Above, and by the abundance of personal validation, hasgacha pratit, that continues to unfold... It's there. Always. Sometimes, it is so openly revealed. And sometimes, we see it only when we remember to look.

Lisa Alcalay Klug ( is an award-winning journalist, author, speaker and media coach. She is currently at work on a memoir. This post is a part of a blog tour celebrating the release of her new book, Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe. Learn more about the blog tour at Join her Smokin' Hot Mamalah Book Launch Giveaway valued at $300 at

Seeking Connection

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 | Permalink

Earlier this week, Lisa Alcalay Klug wrote about how her work is informed by her father's experiences during the Holocaust. She will be blogging here all week for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

If there is one consistent theme in the ongoing discoveries of my family history it is meaningful coincidence. Some people call this synchronicity. Our sages call it hasgacha pratit, Divine providence.

In 2009, I received an email from David Abitbol, whom I had met the year before when I presented at the Jewlicious Festival he co-founded in Los Angeles. David had made aliyah and spotted a vintage photograph of a Jerusalem couple named Alcalay displayed near his apartment in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Nachlaot. He asked if they were my relatives. I didn’t know. My mother didn’t know. My grandparents were no longer living so I couldn’t ask them. Months passed and the question lingered. If I could find more details about the image, I might discover how we are related.

If hobbies can be Jewish, genealogy certainly is. It’s a way of reclaiming our past despite centuries of persecution and loss. It’s also popular among “Holocaust families” like mine who dream of discovering a lost relative. Before the proliferation of genealogical sites on the Net, I consulted an Israeli professor of Sefardi history, Yom Tov Assis at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, about my mother's family. Yom Tov told me all Alcalays are part of a large clan that left Spain at the time of the Inquisition and dispersed across the Mediterranean. While he was still alive, my grandfather, the son of a Jerusalem rabbi, told me we are direct descendants of an early Zionist thinker, Rabbi Yehuda Alcalay, the chief rabbi of Sarajevo. In his writings, Herzl credits Alcalay with many of the ideas for a future Jewish state. To honor that history, I inserted the montage of delegates at the first Zionist Congress held in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland into my first book, Cool Jew. Two delegates were both descendants of Rabbi Alcalay, a granddaughter and a great nephew, who were married. Their names are David and Judith Alcalay; she was one of the relatively few women in attendance.

Months after David Abitbol sent me the image of the unknown Alcalays, I was invited to present at Limmud UK. Since I was traveling all the way from California, I added on a visit to Israel and recruited another friend, Rabbi Yitzchak Schwartz, for help unraveling the mystery of the photo. I had met Yitzchak years earlier when we both taught in a Jewish spirituality retreat in Maui. Nachlaot's labyrinthian streets easily swallow up newcomers but Yitzchak, who studies kabbalah in Nachlaot each night—all night—was happy to help. David had told me the image is one among many historic portraits embedded in Nachlaot's walls; these displays honor early residents of one of the first neighborhoods outside the Old City with weather-protected photographs that represent a Jewish twist on “Lincoln slept here.” On one wall, there might be the image of Tevyeh the Milkman. On another, Rachel the seamstress.

We wandered the neighborhood in an impromptu tour, carefully reading every caption, enjoying the charming stories, but there was not one Alcalay among them. The sun began to set and soon, Yitzchak had to leave for his evening routine. I asked if we could quickly try just one more street before we gave up. We picked up our pace and turned another corner. There, we discovered a series of about 20 images, the largest yet, but one drew me directly to it and I began to cry. The photo features a family, including one young woman I immediately recognized as my grandmother. She had a stroke early in life and I barely knew her, but I "happened" to have visited her a week before she died and attended her funeral in the same cemetery as the Israelis martyred at the Munich Olympics.

My aunt had given me a copy of her family portrait soon after my grandmother passed away. I love it so much that I keep it on display in my home. By the time I discovered it in Nachlaot, I had already published it in Cool Jew. It accompanies a section on Jewish blood ties.


My grandmother, Yehudit Levy, z'l is shown seated in the far right corner, with her parents,
siblings, niece and nephew.

It was only because I was searching that I found what I wasn't seeking, a bond to Nachlaot I didn't even know existed. This amazing series of meetings and friendships had led me to an unexpected gift during Chanukah, when my grandmother was born. Her parents had named her Judith, in honor of one of the heroines of Chanukah, who slew the enemy ruler, Holofernes.

I was due in England soon but hoped to return to Nachlaot for the next major festival, Passover. I dreamt of commemorating our redemption and walking the streets my grandmother had, and where my great grandparents had before her.

The next installment of this story will appear in a third post in this series.

Read Part 3 of this series: For the Sake of Unification

Lisa Alcalay Klug ( is an award-winning journalist, author, speaker and media coach. She is currently at work on a memoir. This post is a part of a blog tour celebrating the release of her new book, Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe. Learn more about the blog tour at Join her Smokin' Hot Mamalah Book Launch Giveaway valued at $300 at

It's Not All in a Name

Monday, October 29, 2012 | Permalink

Lisa Alcalay Klug's most recent book, Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe, is now available. She is also the author of Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe, a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist. She will be blogging here all week for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning.

It’s clear from the names of my two pop culture humor books, Cool Jew and Hot Mamalah, that my Jewish background is a primary force in my writing. What these titles don’t reveal is how much my work is informed by my father’s experiences during the Holocaust.

They say every child of a Holocaust survivor is born with a tear in her eye. This is far from an obvious starting point for cultivating humor. But like many other creatives, my “weighty inheritance” significantly contributes to the overall tenor of my writing about contemporary Jewish lifein both revealed and unrevealed ways.

My first book, Cool Jew: The Ultimate Guide for Every Member of the Tribe (, was a 2008 National Jewish Book Awards Finalist and the first humor book honored in the awards’ 50-year-history. My new book, Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe (, debuted this month. Both books are filled with humorous depictions of Jewish life and practice. They promote learning about your identity and celebrating it with a reverent irreverence based on a real love of being Jewish.

My father, who will b’ezrat Hashem, soon turn 90, is a survivor of Buchenwald. As a child, my father told me his parents died “in the war.” It was only when I turned the age of bat mitzvah that I learned their precise fate. On Yom Kippur 1942, the Nazis deported them and their daughter Rosa to Treblinka. They were never heard from again. That same year, the Nazis murdered my uncle Lipman in the Czestohowa ghetto. Somehow, despite years as a slave laborer in war-time Poland, my father survived. He was near death when General Patton’s Third Army finally liberated Buchenwald. He was furious to miss the oranges and chocolate U.S. liberators fed his fellow captives. As many of them died from complications, my father realized this was one more blessing that saved his life.

One of my father’s mottos is never give up. One day in April 1945 he was a slave. And the next day, suddenly, the skies parted. And he was a free.

Another of my father's favorite maxims is never, ever be ashamed to be a Jew. My books, Cool Jew and Hot Mamalah, turn this injunction into a positive: to know who you are and own it. Little did I know that my own embracing of this teaching would lead me to new revelations about my heritage, including the Sefardi history of my mother’s family. Check back soon for more about them in an upcoming post in this series.

Read Part 2 of this series: Seeking Connection

Read Part 3 of this series: For the Sake of Unification

Lisa Alcalay Klug ( is an award-winning journalist, author, speaker and media coach. She is currently at work on a memoir. This post is one in series in a blog tour celebrating the release of her new book, Hot Mamalah: The Ultimate Guide for Every Woman of the Tribe. Learn more about the blog tour at Join her Smokin' Hot Mamalah Book Launch Giveaway valued at $300 at

New Reviews

Friday, October 26, 2012 | Permalink
This week's reviews:


JBC Bookshelf: War and Extremism in Fiction

Thursday, October 25, 2012 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

We've begun to notice a pattern in the newest fiction titles to cross our desk: the theme of war and extremism. Each of the following works of fiction explore the realities of war, resistance, dictatorship, and extremism across the globe and time. They present the philosophical and physical struggles of individuals caught up in conflict throughout different points in history. Written over the past hundred years, the trend begs the question: Will we ever learn? 

Judith: A Novel, Lawrence Durrell (November 2012, Open Road Media)

Released one hundred years after the author's birth, Judith is set in Palestine in the 1940s on the eve of Britain's withdrawal. Find out more about Durrell here

Ignorance: A NovelMichèle Roberts (January 2013, Bloomsbury USA)
Roberts, who was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, tells the story of two women in wartime France, as they struggle with guilt, faith, and desire. 

The Zelmenyaners: A Family Saga, Moyshe Kulbak; Hillel Halkin, trans. (January 2013, Yale University Press)
Written in Yiddish between 1929 and 1935, Kulbak tells the story of a Jewish family in Minsk as they cope with the new Soviet reality. This title is a part of Yale University Press's New Yiddish Library Series.

The Fall of the Stone City, Ismail Kadare (February 2013, Grove Press)
Set in Albania in 1943, Gjirokastër is the first town in the warpath of Nazi troops invading Albania. Intermingling Balkan legend with recent Albania history, Kadare tells a tale of dictatorship, resistance, and magic. 

The Wanting: A Novel, Michael Lavigne (February 2013, Schocken Books)
The long-awaited second novel from Sami Rohr Prize Choice Award recipient Michael Lavigne. Michael's new novel follows Roman Guttman, a Russian-born postmodern architect who is injured in a bus bombing, as he journeys into Palestinian territory. Roman's story alternates with the diary of his thirteen-year-old daughter, Anyusha, and is enriched by flashbacks of Anyusha's mother's life, a famous Russian refusenik who died for her beliefs.  

The Hare With Amber Eyes: The Illustrated Edition

Thursday, October 25, 2012 | Permalink

Posted by Naomi Firestone-Teeter

For those who haven't jumped on the Edmund de Waal train yet, here's your chance! Farrar, Straus and Giroux will be publishing the Illustrated Edition of The Hare with Amber Eyes in November. This beautiful edition features 100 previously unseen images, including photographs of the netsuke collection and full-color images from de Waal’s family archive. 

Book Clubs will be happy to know that de Waal has a handy reader's guide available on his website here