The White Road: Book summary and reviews of The White Road by Edmund de Waal

The White Road

Journey into an Obsession

by Edmund de Waal

The White Road by Edmund de Waal

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About this book

Book Summary

A gripping blend of history and memoir, by the author of the award-winning and bestselling international sensation, The Hare with the Amber Eyes.

In The White Road, bestselling author and artist Edmund de Waal gives us an intimate narrative history of his lifelong obsession with porcelain, or "white gold." A potter who has been working with porcelain for more than forty years, de Waal describes how he set out on five journeys to places where porcelain was dreamed about, refined, collected and coveted - and that would help him understand the clay's mysterious allure. From his studio in London, he starts by travelling to three "white hills" - sites in China, Germany and England that are key to porcelain's creation. But his search eventually takes him around the globe and reveals more than a history of cups and figurines; rather, he is forced to confront some of the darkest moments of twentieth-century history.

Part memoir, part history, part detective story, The White Road chronicles a global obsession with alchemy, art, wealth, craft, and purity. In a sweeping yet intimate style that recalls The Hare with the Amber Eyes, de Waal gives us a singular understanding of "the spectrum of porcelain" and the mapping of desire.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. De Waal's poetically recounted journey is a revelation, as well: of the power of obsession and the lust for purity." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. The book transforms an otherwise esoteric subject into a truly remarkable story." - Publishers Weekly

"This page-turning account, both sweeping and intimate, will appeal to a broad audience." - Library Journal

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More Information

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Edmund de Waal is one of the world's leading ceramic artists, and his porcelain is held in many major museum collections. His bestselling memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes has been published in thirty languages and won the Costa Biography Award and the RSL Ondaatje Prize. It was shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize, the Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize, the PEN/Ackerley Prize and the Southbank Sky Arts Award for Literature, and longlisted for the Orwell Prize and BBC Samuel Johnson Prize. He lives in London with his family.

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