The White Road by Edmund de Waal

The White Road: Journey into an Obsession By Edmund de Waal Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780374289263
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2015

Edmund de Waal, whose first book, The Hare with Amber Eyes, focused on inherited Japanese Netski and his travels through Asia and Europe to find their origins, is both a writer and ceramist. He has worked with porcelain, his current obsession, for 25 years, and it is the basis for his pilgrimage to the three “white hills” of China, Germany and England. He portrays both the process of creating porcelain and the fixation throughout the ages with possessing “white gold” in a book that is a history of porcelain, its geography and its effect on those who create it and those who acquire it. He begins in China in Jiangxi province and the first of the three hills where it has been produced for 1000 years and then moves on in the footsteps of the Jesuits to France and then Germany and the second hill, explaining the role of the philosophers, Spinoza and Leibnitz. At the third hill, close to his home in Cornwall, the land of the Quakers, he tells the stories of the commercialization of the white clay by Wedgewood and of the clay in North America in the Cherokee nation.  He then brings the reader into the modern age through the porcelain works at Dachau. De Waal’s 400-page book is autobiography as well as history, told in the simple, white tone of a ceramicist who works alone at his wheel creating beauty out of clay.  A big and complicated book, this is worthy of quiet and thoughtful reading. – Wendy Foster Leigh

Other Books Mentioned in This Piece: 
The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance By Edmund de Waal Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780312569372
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Picador - August 2nd, 2011