The Glass Room – Simon Mawer
Inspired by a house, Simon Mawer has woven in intricate and intriguing story of a couple building just such a house and just such a room of light.
Their lives are idyllic until Hitler looms on the horizon. The couple and their family are replaced by Nazis using the glass room to run genetic measurements of phenotype, then doctors and therapists using it to work with handicapped children. Mawer subtly weaves the original owners back into the story bringing it to a natural and satisfying conclusion.
Strong characters throughout and excellent writing make for a satisfying read.
If you’ve read The Only Woman in the Room, you will immediately recognize Hedy Lamar and her husband (Austrian arms dealer) who cross paths with the owners of the house.
Germans lived in Sudetenland which was part of the Austro-Hungarian territory for some 700 years. For more on the fate of many of the 3 million Germans living in Sudentenland at the end of WWII, read Julia’s Violinist.
Images of the house that inspired the novel, the original Villa Tugendhat.