The Glass Room
* Inspired by a real house, an amazing modernist symbol, Simon Mawer has written his best novel yet, a story guaranteed to dazzle and intrigue the readerCool. Balanced. Modern. The precisions of science, the wild variance of lust, the catharsis of confession and the fear of failure - these are things that happen in the Glass Room.
High on a Czechoslovak hill, the Landauer House shines as a wonder of steel and glass and onyx built specially for newlyweds Viktor and Liesel Landauer, a Jew married to a gentile. But the radiant honesty of 1930 that the house, with its unique Glass Room, seems to engender quickly tarnishes as the storm clouds of WW2 gather, and eventually the family must flee, accompanied by Viktor's lover and her child.
But the house's story is far from over, and as it passes from hand to hand, from Czech to Russian, both the best and the worst of the history of Eastern Europe becomes somehow embodied and perhaps emboldened within the beautiful and austere surfaces and planes so carefully designed, until events become full-circle.** 'THE GLASS ROOM is a fiction of many remarkable qualities . . . Mawer's control of his themes of language, desire, memory and the power of place is extraordinary - as haunting and mysterious as the effect of sunlight on the wall of golden onyx that survives all the convulsions by which his characters are engulfed** '[THE GLASS ROOM'S] poetic success is to remind us of two great gilt-edged ironies: that whatever is held to be the height of modernity is already en route to the museum, and that even "cold" art is the embodiment of its maker's passion - one that can** 'Mawer creates a passionately detailed portrait of individuals struggling to snatch order and happiness from frightening, irrational times . . . THE GLASS ROOM achieves a rare feat of being truly enjoyable to read.** 'Love triangles litter Mawer's story. They bear witness to his great talent for grasping the non-linear nature of desire.Simon Mawer was born in 1948 in England, and spent his childhood there, in Cyprus and in Malta. He has lived with his wife in Italy for more than 20 years, and he teaches at the English School in Rome.Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009Mawer's control of his themes of language, desire, memory and the power of place is extraordinary - as haunting and mysterious as the effect of sunlight on the wall of golden onyx' Jane Shilling, DAILY TELEGRAPH23,000 HBs sold gross (13,000 bookscan)