Rarely has a modern author made his or her point so eloquently and economically as Simon Mawer does in "The Glass Room". In this tale, the reader enters a world of ultra modern architecture in the form of a house built in a Czech town between the wars. This is no ordinary residence for the story it will tell about the Landauer family and its struggles to stay alive in athis part of Europe is one that will quickly become embroiled in some incredible political and cultural changes over a very short period of time. You see, this virtual glass house, erected in a time of new beginnings, rapidly becomes a powerful metaphor for all that Czech society potentially stands for in leading the way to changing a traditional Europe. Bound up in the avant-garde dimensions of this unique structure are dreams of a more tolerant world that accepts mixed-marriages(Arayan and Jewish), allows radically different views on the use of public space, and accommodates the individual within a larger culture setting. For the first part of the story, we are introduced to that time - the end of the 1920s - when freedom seems to abound as this young couple, Vicktor and Liesel Landauer, pursue a compelling need to modernize their little space with all kinds of interesting and novel ideas. Over the ensuing decade the house and its massive glass room fill up with memories that are both rewarding and haunting. The house, as a microcosm of a bigger world out there, contains the pleasantries of family life, the great plans and ambitions of commerce, and the twisted passions of adultery. Sadly, as this family and its supporting cast of servants will learn as the story hits its stride, nothing they have come to appreciate in the building of this house and their business will last. As they quickly discover, the events of Hitler's conquest of the continent are about to overtake their immediate sense of personal security and fantasy. For the next decade, this family will be running for their lives in an effort to find a new refuge from tyranny and prejudice. This fine glass house has ironically made them too vulnerable to all that is evil in their lives. What I truly found rewarding in this story was the way the author focused on the continuing evolving role of this special edifice over time. People will come and go as its subsequent occupants of various dubious political causes - Nazi and Communist alike - try to exploit its dynamic design. In the end, as the beauty and grace of the original building fade and becomes only a distant memory of its former glory, the reader is reminded that nothing in this world is built to last even within a short lifetime. What starts out as a magnificent home ends up as a just another state museum. Beautifully written and effectively laid out as a modern parable full of wisdom.