The Glass Room (405) By Simon Mawer
On the back cover:
On honeymoon in Venice in 1928, Viktor and Liesel Landauer face a new world when they meet brilliant architect Rainer von Abt. Soon, on a hillside near a provincial Czech town, the Landauer house with its celebrated Glass Room will become a modernist masterpiece of travertine floors and onyx walls, filled with light and optimism. But as Viktor is Jewish, when Nazi troops arrive the family must flee.
The house slips from hand to hand, Nazi to Soviet and finally to the Czechoslovak state. It becomes a laboratory, a shelter from the storm of war, and a place where the broken and the ruined find some kind of comfort until, with the collapse of Communism, the Landauers can finally return to where their story began.
I have had this book on my list to read for quite some time, and when I finally got around to borrowing it from the library; I was even more excited to read it.
It is set in what was then known as Czechoslovakia, my Mom’s parents both came from there, and Mom has been back to visit relatives once. I was so looking forward to telling my Mom about it and maybe even buying it for her.
But then I read the book. I did not mind it, I actually liked it. But there are some graphic scenes and affair that gets weird if not a little creepy.
But the story, the story is wonderful. Not only do you follow the Landauer family, but mostly you follow the house – the house is the main character in this book. It really tells the story of the war, how people disappeared and so many people lost touch with close friends and family and decades later the lucky ones were able to re-connect with each other.
My rating: 4 out of 5.