I am surprised by how good this book is. Tracking the development of a house with a glass room in Czechoslovakia from 1928 to the 1990s, The Glass Room tells the stories of several families entwined with the house. The glass room changed hands many times against the backdrop of the Second World War, Communist takeover, revolution in Prague and fall of the Berlin War etc. The horrors of war, holocaust and totalitarianism are subtlely and superbly depicted through the lives and sufferings of the protaganists.
Intelligently told, the story of The Glass Room will stay with you long after you have finished it. The ending, however, is a bit rush....Continua
1/30 Very good. Liked the Czech aspect and architecture-as-metaphor
"High on a Czechoslovak hill, the Landauer House shines as a marvel of steel, glass and onyx. Built specially for newlyweds Viktor and Liesel Landauer, a Jew married to a gentile, it is one of the wonders of modernist architecture. But the radiant honesty and idealism of 1930 that the house seems to engender quickly tarnishes as the storm clouds of World War Two gather. Eventually, as Nazi troops enter the country, the family, accompanied by Viktor’s lover Kata and her child Marika, must flee.
Yet the family’s exile does not signify the end of this spectacular building. It slips from hand to hand, from Czech to Nazi to Soviet and finally back to the Czechoslovak state, the crystalline perfection of the Glass Room always exerting a gravitational pull on those who know it. 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 are finally drawn back to where their story began."
The story is beautifully written but some parts drag on a bit too long and are, in my opinion, irrelevant. The major let down is the author's sloppy and grammatically incorrect use of German words and expressions. A major set back, which may have cost him winning the prestigious award in 2009....Continua