Monday, September 23, 2013

The Glass Room

I wish I could finish this book soon. But given my slow pace, I took over a month to get done with it.

The novel starts in pre World War II  around the 1920s in Czechoslovakia where newly wed Viktor and Liesel Landeur plan their dream home  hiring the quirky architect Von Abt. Thus comes into existence The Glass Room. As the happy domesticity of the Landeur couple takes shape in and around the Glass Room with baby Ottilie and Martin, there emerges woeful saga of infidelity and betrayal. Liesel's best friend Hana is a breath of fresh air and comfort for the  cheated on wife.

As the war comes closer from faraway Germany things change overnight for the family since Viktor is Jew . As they flee from the comforts of their home in the hope of safety The Glass Room stands witness to the upheavals in Hana 's life. Having lost her closest friend she finds love in the form and place where she least expected. 

After the war a new country starts taking shape under the soviet reign. The Glass Room survives  the bombings and plunders to see hope rise and new beginnings take shape . It helps in the germination of the young love of Tomas and Zdenka. It seems like a déjà vu seeing Liesel  and Viktor through the ages. Will their love be faultless, blameless , selfless? Or will it be doomed - frail in the face of human idiosyncrasies and the vagaries of fate? 

A very good story I read in a long time. It certainly had a grip over me. It was a seamless patchwork of events and characters and happenings. One aspect of the book I really appreciated was the breakdown into chapters. It made it all the more lucid. The sexual undertones were a bit irrelevant and jarring for me but they were maybe for a different audience. The highs, the lows, the passage through time was is beautifully charted . The cherry on top was a wonderful sense of closure on finishing a book . 

Some excerpts from the lovely book :-
Women are'nt afraid. We just have real fears to deal with, not the silly fears that men dream up.

Perhaps that was what one expected as a relationship matured: love translated into affection, and lust into a kind of placid contentment.

It wasn't the way that Viktor and Katalin looked at each other, it was the way they did'nt look. It wasn't the notes it was the silences between the notes. Some music is the very enemy of silence, keeping the sounds coming so that the listener has no time to reflect.

It was only in the unknown that hope lay.

This is how Hana answers if she has belief in God.
"Not the compassionate God of the Christians. Some kind of malign life force, I suppose. Something that is always ready to trip you up just when you think things are going all right."

She knows what it is to be sad and miserable, but these emotions are almost enjoyable. They throw moments of happiness and laughter into sharper relief.