A friend happened to meet Edmund de Waal at this year's Venice Biennale, and in telling us about the encounter he was so persuasive about this book, which had made him seek out de Waal, that I resolved to read it. I'm so glad I did. It had been sitting on the shelf here forever, and while I had been aware of it, I thought it was about netsuke. It is, and so much more.
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'A serial killer stalks the games' ... Although I do find myself wondering how much of the book was simply inspired by the title. Having come up with that, did the rest of it all fall into place?
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There are a few writers for whom I will read anything they care to offer. Rebecca Solnit is one of them. She never fails to delight me, both with the ways she builds a sentence and, even more so, the way she builds bridges between ideas. Somehow, River of Shadows had eluded me for a while, but the light it throws on the character of Muybridge and Leland Stanford and how their joint obsession ultimately gave rise to the movies is beyond fascinating.
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