11 writers and critics in 8 different publications have chosen The Glass Room as a best book of 2009

My choice is Simon Mawer's novel The Glass Room. Imagine the house of fiction as a clean, shining, transparent box, befouled by some of the nastiest episodes in recent history. A small saga, beautifully conceived and deeply moving.” Peter Conrad (Observer Critic), Guardian, Books of the Year

I was gripped by Simon Mawer's The Glass Room.” Jeremy Paxman, Guardian, Books of the Year

Simon Mawer’s The Glass Room is exceptional for its resonant complexity, its restraint and the extreme elegance with which Mawer uses a Modern Movement house, Der Glasraum, as a metaphor for love, desire and memory.Jane Shilling, Telegraph, Books of the Year

I admired The Glass Room by Simon Mawer because it tells a story of huge scale – the rise of fascism – through the lens of a very small one, the narrative of a marriage and the myopia of desire, and in doing so is enlightening.” Sadie Jones, Sunday Telegraph Books of the Year

I was enthralled by The Glass Room, Simon Mawer’s Man Booker-shortlisted meditation on an icon of 1930s architecture, the Villa Tugendhat in the Czech city of Brno. In inventing the story of the home’s Jewish owners and the darkness that would engulf its once-optimistic glass walls, Mawer creates an unforgettable literary monument to Modernism and proves that a building can be every bit as moving as a poem or a song.Melissa Katsoulis, Sunday Telegraph, Books of the Year

In 1929, Czech automobile magnate Viktor Landauer commissions architect Rainer von Abt to build him a house. The result – a modernist steel-framed, glass-clad, open-plan villa – becomes a symbol of the world that seems to be disintegrating around him with the ascent of Nazism.” Financial Times, Books of the Year

The story of a room with a world-historical view, by a novelist who has an inquisitive, and quite un-English, interest in history and science.” Economist, Books of the Year

I read Simon Mawer's The Glass Room ages before it appeared on the Booker shortlist, and I was happy it did so well: a powerful novel about what war does to places and ideas as well as people, with the most exceptional evocations of the gleaming Modernist building at its heart.” Rachel Cooke, Evening Standard, Books of the Year

one of the very cleverest novels of the year, about love and loss and art and war, set largely within the light-filled "Glasraum" built by a stylish young Czech couple in the 1930s. A genuinely haunting and stunningly crafted piece of fiction.Alison Roberts, Evening Standard, Books of the Year 2009

Simon Mawer’s Man Booker-shortlisted The Glass Room made, with authority and empathy, one Czech family the focus of Europe’s war and peace.” Boyd Tonkin, Independent Christmas Special Issue

In this exquisite novel, the vast tragedies that befall the Czech people—Nazism, communism—are told through the successive inhabitants of the house. But the people in glass room often remain opaque to themselves and others. It's a brilliant stroke by Mawer to have the convulsions of the 20th century play out in this sparkling house built on optimism.Emily Yoffe, Slate, Best Reads of 2009






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