The Glass Room by Simon Mawer

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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.

About Simon Mawer

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Simon Mawer is the author of the national best sellers Trapeze and The Glass Room, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Mendel's Dwarf was named a New York Times Notable Book and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Mawer's other novels include The Fall (winner of the Boardman Tasker Prize) and The Gospel of Judas. English by birth, he has made Italy his home for more than thirty years.
Published October 21, 2009 by Other Press. 417 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Glass Room

BC Books

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With luminous clarity, The Glass Room leads the reader through the intricate dances of love, betrayal and redemption in Holocaust era Czechoslovakia.

Dec 21 2009 | Read Full Review of The Glass Room

The Washington Times

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The house survives even when it is abandoned. It endures the steel hurricane of Nazi invasion and even a German bomb in its garden.

Mar 26 2010 | Read Full Review of The Glass Room

The Washington Post

So when he said 'the glass room' he was also saying 'the glass tranquillity.' " In chapter after chapter, era after era, the house miraculously continues, working as a talisman, "its spirit of transparency percolating the human beings who stand within it, rendering them as translucent as the glas...

Nov 11 2009 | Read Full Review of The Glass Room

The Telegraph

Viktor, who is Jewish, flees the Glass Room with his family to begin .

Jan 14 2009 | Read Full Review of The Glass Room

The Bookbag

You can read more book reviews or buy The Glass Room by Simon Mawer at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google play and .

Oct 24 2009 | Read Full Review of The Glass Room

California Literary Review

Two of the room’s walls are glass and hence transparent, making of the Glasraum “a palace of light, light bouncing off the chrome pillars, light refulgent on the walls, light glistening on the dew in the garden, light reverberating from the glass.

Oct 01 2009 | Read Full Review of The Glass Room

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