I had been anticipating this book for a long time. I first became acquainted with Edmund de Waal some years ago when my aunt gave me his brilliant book “The Hare With Amber Eyes”. I get goosebumps just typing that title. A potter turned writer, I was intrigued when I heard he would be releasing a book about the history of porcelain. I rarely get excited by non-fiction, but I was so excited to finally get my hands on this book. The design is gorgeous
“The White Road: A Pilgrimage of Sorts” is an unusual book. Part history, part autobiography, de Waal travels to China, then to Venice, Versailles, Dublin, Dresden and finally Carolina on a quest to find the most perfect porcelain. As he travels, he uncovers histories of other men who also fell prey to the lure of white translucence. He also chronicles his own personal obsession with porcelain.
This is a fascinating book, no doubt. The enthusiasm, bordering on fanaticism, de Waal has for pottery and porcelain radiates from the pages. However the narrative structure is all over the place. De Waal jumps from present to past, from continent to continent in an absolute flurry and it is sometimes a little difficult to follow.
Edmund de Waal is a genius, and a talented writer as well as a potter. I learned a lot reading this book, and although it didn’t have the same magic as “The Hare with Amber Eyes”, it is hard not to get carried away with de Waal’s passion. “The White Road” is a gorgeous, meandering microhistory and a great book to start 2016 with.