I received my copy of this novel, courtesy of Mr. Viardo of Blue Dot Literary, LLC.
The novel starts after World War I in former Czechoslovakia and ends in the present day. The Real Glass Room is located in Brno, Czech Republic. My version of the novel shows line drawings of different parts of the exterior of the house at the start of different sections of the story.
Viktor and Liesel Landauer marry and honeymoon in Venice. They meet the great architect, Rainer von Abt, who is later designs their modern home. von Abt wishes "to take Man out of the cave and float him in the air. I wish to give him, a glass space to inhabit."
The Landauers see the home to completion and enjoy it until Hitler comes into power. Viktor is a non-religious Jew, but he foresees a bad future ahead.
They leave their home, and the story continues. The home becomes like another character in the novel.
The room entralls everyone who sees it. After WWII is over, the home is taken over by the Communist Party and becomes a physicial therapy clinic for children who have deformed limbs.
Tomas, a doctor, pauses after a busy day. This passage also explains the difficulty of translation. He "referred to the gymnasium as the Glass Room. There is a language problem here. The word used for room, pokoj,
can also mean peace, tranquility, quiet...The place appeared quite withoutto period or style - just a space of light and stillness, where, when his work was over, he could be with Zdenka."
One of Leisel's friends, Hana, is later an important official who is interested in saving the home. We also find out what happened to the Landauers and to their driver, who was the caretaker of the house during WWII.
I liked several aspects of this novel: the discussion of modern architecture and language, learning of other early, luxury automobiles besides Cadillac and Rolls Royce, and Mongolian soldiers.
This novel was shortlisted for last year's Man Booker Awards and was worthy of the honor. It was a multi-layered read that I enjoyed a lot.