Even though The Glass Room was shortlisted for the 2009 Booker Prize I had not heard a great deal about it. I did however see the great (and positive) reviews for it from Jackie and Samantha which meant I kept it on my radar. I am so glad I did because as Jackie says at the start of her review - even though this isn't a book I might have ordinarily picked up I really enjoyed it and will definitely be looking out for more of Mawer's work in the future.
In many ways the central character of The Glass Room is the room (or house) itself. Built in a Czech town in the 1930's by newly married and quite wealthy couple Viktor and Liesel Landauer the house is a new direction in architecture - moving away from the fussiness and intricateness of the designs of the late 1800's and into a cleaner, starker more modern future. For Viktor and Leisel the house is more than a place to eat and sleep - it represents who they are, who they want to be and the direction they see their life taking.
Unfortunately for the Landauer family World War 2 intervenes in their plans. Viktor, as a Jew, feels that the safest option is to leave their home and their country and travel to Switzerland. The house remains of course and we see it pass through the hands of the Nazi establishment and other organisations before returning, in a sense, to the way that it began.
The narrative of this novel flows beautifully and I felt that the way that the author captured, described and demonstrated the many different relationships (including different characters relationships with the house) within the novel showed an amazing capability for understanding people and their motives - and just how complex these are. The author obviously has a great passion for his subject in this novel and I feel that he passes this on to his reader.
Has anyone read any other books by Simon Mawer - I am wondering where I should go next??