The Glass Room

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Other Press, LLC, Oct 27, 2009 - Fiction - 416 pages
40 Reviews
Honeymooners Viktor and Liesel Landauer are filled with the optimism and cultural vibrancy of central Europe of the 1920s when they meet modernist architect Rainer von Abt. He builds for them a home to embody their exuberant faith in the future, and the Landauer House becomes an instant masterpiece.  Viktor and Liesel, a rich Jewish mogul married to a thoughtful, modern gentile, pour all of their hopes for their marriage and budding family into their stunning new home, filling it with children, friends, and a generation of artists and thinkers eager to abandon old-world European style in favor of the new and the avant-garde. But as life intervenes, their new home also brings out their most passionate desires and darkest secrets. As Viktor searches for a warmer, less challenging comfort in the arms of another woman, and Liesel turns to her wild, mischievous friend Hana for excitement, the marriage begins to show signs of strain. The radiant honesty and idealism of 1930 quickly evaporate beneath the storm clouds of World War II. As Nazi troops enter the country, the family must leave their old life behind and attempt to escape to America before Viktor's Jewish roots draw Nazi attention, and before the family itself dissolves.

As the Landauers struggle for survival abroad, their home slips from hand to hand, from Czech to Nazi to Soviet possession and finally back to the Czechoslovak state, with new inhabitants always falling under the fervent and unrelenting influence of the Glass Room. Its crystalline perfection exerts a gravitational pull on those who know it, inspiring them, freeing them, calling them back, until the Landauers themselves are finally drawn home to where their story began.

Brimming with barely contained passion and cruelty, the precision of science, the wild variance of lust, the catharsis of confession, and the fear of failure - the Glass Room contains it all.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - idiotgirl - LibraryThing

Audiobook. The glass room is at the center of a modernist house, built in the 20s in Czechoslovakia. The room, we are told, captures space, refracts light. Let's the world in, keeps it out. The ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bodachliath - LibraryThing

This book is unusual in that its central character is a building rather than a person, though the story has a strong personal element too. The story is fictional, but the house in Prague is real ... Read full review


Part 1
Chapter 3Conception
Chapter 5Gestation
Chapter 8Interior Chapter 9Exterior Chapter 10 Completion
Chapter 13Birth
Chapter 16Memories Chapter 17 Recital Chapter 18Love Chapter 19Ecstasy Chapter 20Loss Chapter 21Coda Chapter 22 Anschluss Chapter 23 Enco...
Chapter 24Chata Chapter 25Robots Chapter 26Gossip Chapter 27 Proposal Chapter 28Ship Chapter 29The Last Yearin Marienbad Chapter 30Small I...
Storm in March
Part 2
Chapter 36Occupation Chapter 37Rainer Chapter 38 Encounter Chapter 39 Swimming
Chapter 40 Examination
Chapter 41Hedy

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About the author (2009)

Simon Mawer was born in England and spent his childhood there, in Cyprus, and in Malta. His previous novels include The Fall (winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize), The Gospel of Judas, and Mendel's Dwarf (long-listed for the Man Booker Prize). He now lives in Italy with his wife and teaches at St. George's British International School in Rome.

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