Monday, 23 November 2015
I loved The Hare with Amber Eyes, read it twice and spent an afternoon in Paris walking the course. So I was looking forward to Edmund de Waal's second book, another quest, this time through the history of porcelain (even if I did feel cynical about the very brown sticker on the very white book as I thought EdeW would be too classy to shout, Buy me for Christmas).
Anyway, you don't need to buy this for Christmas because it will be lining the shelves in the charity shops by the end of January. There's lots of interesting material here and I'm not saying I didn't perk up now and then; I was interested in the Nazi porcelain works at Dachau, and fascinated to read about Wedgwood sending an agent into Cherokee territory in search of the whitest kaolin.
But this isn't a gripping page-turner like The Hare when you're dying to know what happens and scared to find out. I'm afraid I found EdeW rather boring company on The White Road and got thoroughly fed up with his verbosity. (He switches the navel-gazing on and off and it's much better off.)
So on the very last page, when he answers the questions everybody asks ... Does he get bored making white pots? No, he doesn't. And is he still writing? I'm not writing. I have written. And I am making again.
I'm afraid I thought, Well, that was the right decision.