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The Glass Room
by Simon Mawer

Published: 2009-10-20
Paperback : 406 pages
5 members reading this now
12 clubs reading this now
2 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 5 of 6 members
A New York Times Best-Seller

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 ...
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Introduction

A New York Times Best-Seller

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.

Editorial Review

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Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

Do you feel Simon Mawer was more sympathetic to the male or female characters?
In what ways was the glass room used--symbolically, metaphorically, etc?
How did the third person omnicient voice affect your ability to connect to the characters?
by ebarselle (see profile) 09/16/10

Did Kata really love Viktor?
Why did Viktor look to start an affair?
by pattyshea (see profile) 02/10/10

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "The Glass Room"by angie1 (see profile) 10/25/13

Just a downer.

 
  "An original view of the Holocaust"by quinby2 (see profile) 02/10/11

The central character in this book is an iconic house in Brno, Czech Republic, by architect Mies van der Rohe, and specifically, The Glass Room. The story follows the original Jewish family that built... (read more)

 
  "The Glass Room"by louisvilleladies (see profile) 01/26/11

an interesting love story with World War II as the backdrop, particularly different was the war from the point of view of Czeckoslovakians. Really an unusual love triangle-loved the book!

 
  "The Glass Room"by ebarselle (see profile) 09/16/10

Mawer's use of the glass room as methaphor and structure was brilliant. Good story line that was easily read with short chapters. Male characters were cold, distant, and rational. All the characters had... (read more)

 
  "The Glass Room"by pattyshea (see profile) 02/10/10

A very interesting read. The story keeps, moving even through dark times, with the development and introduction of new characters. Prompted a rowdy discussion.

 
  "Great book"by idichandy (see profile) 02/02/10

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