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The glass room
Simon Mawer
Adult Fiction MAWER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The latest from novelist Mawer (The Fall) begins with great promise, as Jewish newlyweds Viktor and Liesel Landauer meet with architect Rainier von Abt, not just an architect but "a poet.[of] light and space and form," who builds their dream home, a "modern house adapted to the future rather than the past, to the openness of modern living." World events, however, are about to overtake 1930s Czechoslovakia. Viktor, like most in the community, dismisses rumors of impending pogroms-"The only people who hold the German economy together are the Jews"-but once the signs of Nazi occupation become impossible to ignore, the Landauers must abandon their beloved home. In a bizarre twist of fate, however, Liesel insists on rescuing single mother Katra, unaware that Katra is Viktor's new mistress. As the world spins into chaos, the highly symbolic Landauer house is the only constant; though it shifts identities more than once, the house remains "ageless," a place "that defines the very existence of time." Mawer's writing and characters are rich, but his twisty plot depends too often on unbelievable coincidences, especially in the conclusion. (Oct.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

From Library Journal:

Sarah's Key meets The Fountainhead in this Holocaust-themed novel with an architectural marvel in the leading role. As a wave of modernism sweeps across Europe in the aftermath of World War I, Czech newlyweds Victor and Liesel Landauer embrace the future and engage a daring German architect to plan their new home. Built with new materials of chrome, glass, and steel, the house features an onyx wall and a glass room designed to showcase modern art and sculpture and to serve as an inviting space for parties and concerts. But the Nazi storm troopers are on their inexorable march through Europe, and Victor is Jewish, so the Landauers abandon their beloved home and take flight. The rest of the story follows the fate of their house as it changes hands through the shifting political tides of Nazism, communism, and a return to democracy. Verdict What begins as a gripping, war-era family saga loses some momentum when the Landauers exit center stage. Nonetheless, this worthy Man Booker nominee deserves to find an appreciative audience.-Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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more titles about

main characters Viktor Landauer
Male
Jewish
Hopeful about his new life with Liesel; marriage begins to show signs of strain; has an affair; he and his family have to flee the country from the Nazis.

Liesel Landauer
Female
Hopeful about her new life with Viktor; marriage begins to show signs of strain; turns to her wild, mischievous friend Hana for excitement.

Rainer von Abt
Male
Builds the Landauers dream house.
Architect

Katra
Female
Single mother
Viktor's mistress.



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