Set in the city of Mesto, Czechoslovakia, love, betrayal, sex, art, war, and architecture combine to engage the reader in this novel of a marriage going stale, mimicking the culture of the 1930s and 1940s hastening into decline and war.
Wealthy Jewish car manufacturer Viktor Landauer and his gentile wife Liesel are given land by her parents. They want to leave tradition behind and build something modern - thus a modernist masterpiece with the peaceful and balanced "glass room".
Children are born and an affair begun. With war on the horizon and Viktor being Jewish, the family is forced to flee their country and their precious house ending up in America. The Landauer house survives a Nazi occupation and used for scientific experiments and then is claimed by the communists after 1968 before becoming a museum.
Within the novel's time span, the characters are enmeshed in love, deceit, loss and endangerment (a great combination). The glass room remains the only constant in a private and public world of upheaval.
The Glass Room was a 2009 finalist for the British Booker Award for fiction.
Recommended by Ruth Ann Johnson