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The Glass Room

Average Rating 4
( 84 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Mawer has created a tale which easily holds the interest of the reader from page one until the last.

The Glass Room
Simon Mawer
The author has captured the time in Europe, just after World War I when hopes were high for the future, straight through the ensuing decades when hopes were dashed; time travels seamlessly through World War II with the ultimate Communist tak...
The Glass Room
Simon Mawer
The author has captured the time in Europe, just after World War I when hopes were high for the future, straight through the ensuing decades when hopes were dashed; time travels seamlessly through World War II with the ultimate Communist take-over of several countries and then across the ocean to America, where the future is being made and some ultimately find safety from the turmoil, death and destruction overseas. The book spans almost 7 decades as we travel with the Landauers through their memories and those of the people who touched their lives in the house they had built for themselves, which represented a hopeful future, without encumbrances, where everyone would be free and life would be transparent. The house is the connection for all of the characters as it is the repository of those memories. Eventually the "glasraum" (the glass room which is the central part of the house.architecturally beautiful and without artifice), brings the survivors all full circle, back to the beginning of the history of the house, where the memories were made and connects it to a time in 1990. Socialism has proven to be a total failure.and the house has been restored to its former glory.
As the pages turned, I found myself holding my breath, finding it very hard to read, as the fear and anger of the times, coupled with other varied emotions, assaulted my senses with every word and every image the author created. The apparent apathy and ignorance of the populace was unnerving. They were sitting ducks when the enemy finally pounced. They were totally unprepared for the evil that befell them and those that escaped the evil, turned a blind eye so as not to let it touch them. The emotional distance from which they viewed the hardships around them was hard to contemplate without fury at their complacence.
It is ironic that the Glass Room was built to represent art, form and transparency at a time when the most duplicitous evil ruler rose to power. Rather than the high form of beauty, represented by the house, horror rose out of Germany and spread its disease across Europe.
The characters, places and circumstances are introduced and then simply disappear, in much the same way as people disappeared and circumstances changed, during World War II. One moment they were all right and the next, they were never seen again.
Hitler's evil and his takeover of power was subtle and deceitful. With very few nightmarish explanations and very little horrifying imagery, the author definitely evokes the horror, injustice, fear, treachery and all other aspects of World War II. It is not your typical Holocaust novel since it is about so much more. but it sheds light on that era with amazing clarity and shows the progression of society over the following decades.

posted by thewanderingjew on July 7, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Wouldn't pay for it again.

I loved the language of this book. I really anticipated a rich, deep story of history, architecture, and love. I wanted to love the story...it built and grew to something I anticipated to be wonderful. At some point the author decided that this was a story of some peo...
I loved the language of this book. I really anticipated a rich, deep story of history, architecture, and love. I wanted to love the story...it built and grew to something I anticipated to be wonderful. At some point the author decided that this was a story of some people, mixed up in a political mess, living in a really awesome house. Then the house was not connected and we were reading about a lesbian woman, a boring family and a prostitute and her daughter. Close to the end the author introduces us to some uninteresting characters who are only needed to make a plot point, but are needed for nothing else. I am still trying to figure out why the obsession with public hair in the 2nd half of the book...

posted by tumbledry on January 3, 2011

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  • Posted January 3, 2011

    Wouldn't pay for it again.

    I loved the language of this book. I really anticipated a rich, deep story of history, architecture, and love. I wanted to love the story...it built and grew to something I anticipated to be wonderful. At some point the author decided that this was a story of some people, mixed up in a political mess, living in a really awesome house. Then the house was not connected and we were reading about a lesbian woman, a boring family and a prostitute and her daughter. Close to the end the author introduces us to some uninteresting characters who are only needed to make a plot point, but are needed for nothing else. I am still trying to figure out why the obsession with public hair in the 2nd half of the book...

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 30, 2011

    Boring

    Had a hard time reading this book. The story was fine but the writer failed us by going on and on a showing no emotion all threw the book. I wouldn't tell anyone to read this and hope the author learns and does better next time.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2011

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    Posted February 12, 2010

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    Posted January 30, 2010

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    Posted October 14, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

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