264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them bigger than a matchbox: Edmund de Waal was entranced when he first encountered the collection in his great uncle Iggie's Tokyo apartment.
When he later inherited the 'netsuke', they unlocked a story far larger and more dramatic than he could ever have imagined.
From a burgeoning empire in Odessa to fin de siecle Paris, from occupied Vienna to Tokyo, Edmund de Waal traces the netsuke's journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century.
'You have in your hands a masterpiece' Frances Wilson, Sunday Times
'The most brilliant book I've read for years... A rich tale of the pleasure and pains of what it is to be human' Bettany Hughes, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year
'A complex and beautiful book' Diana Athill
**ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 21st CENTURY**