The Glass Room


On honeymoon in Venice in 1929 Viktor and Liesel Landauer face a new world when they meet brilliant architect Rainer Von Abt. Soon, on a hillside near a provincial Czech town, the Landauer house with its celebrated Glass Room will become Von Abt’s greatest work, a modernist masterpiece in glass and steel, with travertine floors and onyx walls, filled with light and optimism. But while Viktor’s beautiful wife is Aryan, he is Jewish and so when Nazi troops arrive the family, accompanied by his lover and child, must flee.

Yet their exile is not the end of this spectacular building. It slips from hand to hand, from Czech to Nazi to Soviet and finally to the Czechoslovak state, the crystalline perfection of the Glass Room always exerting a gravitational pull on those who know it. It becomes a laboratory, a shelter from the storm of war, and a place where the broken and the ruined find some kind of comfort until, with the collapse of Communism, the Landauers can finally return to where their story began.

from the jacket blurb (Little, Brown 2009)




1913 Painting by Roger de la Fresnaye (1885 - 1925)



Simon Mawer 2008 - 2018. This website is written and maintained by the author.