The Glass Room

by Simon Mawer | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9781408700778 Global Overview for this book
Registered by quinnsmom of Hobe Sound, Florida USA on 10/5/2009
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by quinnsmom from Hobe Sound, Florida USA on Monday, October 5, 2009
The home commissioned by automobile maker Victor Landauer and his wife Liesel in 1929 has as a focal point The Glass Room. It is a house built by Modernist architect Rainer Von Abt, who follows Victor's insistence that the house reflect something new rather than continue the tradition of the old, ornamental style that was prevalent among the European wealthy of the time. It sits above a town on a hill in Czechoslovakia, with spectacular views, and it offered "the most remarkable experience of modern living," a theme that runs throughout the novel and throughout time. The story (without going into much plot detail here) follows the lives of the Landauers while they are both in and away from the house, having to leave Czechoslovakia because of the Nazi occupation and Hitler's actions against the Jews. While times change, the house and the Glass Room remain, serving as vehicles through which history plays out through several regimes -- the Nazis, the Soviets, and then through the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The writing is excellent -- and although the Landauer's story depends a lot on coincidence (which normally I don't like to see in a novel), here it actually works. Mawer's characterizations are wonderful, and the house itself stands as probably the most important character in the novel. The author also has this incredible sense of place and time that make the story real, believable, and well worth reading.

It's definitely a book full of symbolism and observations, but in the interest of not wanting to spoil things for other readers, I'll merely note that there are a myriad of places on the internet where you can read more in depth about this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an outstanding read, and I must say, this is one of the best of the Booker Prize nominees this year. People who enjoy good historical fiction will definitely want to read this as well. The Glass Room is truly an amazing book.

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