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The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
The Glass Room, Der Glasraum, is a house of glass built on a hillside in the Czech Republic in the 1930s. Viktor Landauer is a wealthy Jewish businessman who commissions the house. He wants something to reflect the Modern Age. The house has large windows, white walls, ceilings, and floors, and a central onyx wall that changes color when the sun shines on it. The openness of the house illuminates the struggles and passions of the Landauers, where the house makes it hard to hide secrets. They flee the house as the Nazis approach, who use the house for their own purposes. After the war, the communists made it home and it eventually became a museum. Simon Mawer's novel has received a Booker nomination and positive reviews. The Guardian says, "The Glass Room is a novel of ideas, yet strongly propelled by plot and characterised by an almost dreamlike simplicity of telling. Comparisons with the work of Michael Frayn would not be misplaced, and there are occasional moments of illuminating brilliance, when the novel becomes like the Glass Room of the title."