An enclosure around space

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer provides a story of WWII that is difficult to forget. The image of a house built to enclose space is haunting — its inhabitants walk into the unease of WWII and then are enclosed by the events of history. Liesel’s story, and the multiple romantic entanglements between her, her husband Viktor, and their extended group of friends manages to give a view of lives that are messy and interesting, and not so heroic as to be unbelievable. And through it all, the house remains as stolen property, like the lives that were stolen from the protagonists. Things got so messy in the novel, I worried there wouldn’t a close to the book that would leave me satisfied, without it feeling false. I’ll let you read to see how Liesel and Viktor’s story finishes in a tangential way.

Since the house itself was a real one, even though the lives in the novel are very fictionalized, you can walk through the house’s sun-drenched rooms if you visit Czechoslovakia. There’s an article from 2012 here, with some photos of the space. Definitely a modernist aesthetic — and interesting that the house remained through it all and has been restored.

Flickr Photos


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