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This novel is proof that if you like the characters and the writing, a book in which nothing really happens can still be riveting.
But honestly, to say “nothing really happens” is not fair because in a story about people’s lives that span 30 years and includes WW2 everything happens! Perhaps it’s because I have no imagination that I can’t verbalize it better.
It’s the story of a man and woman and a house. Sounds dull, but it’s not because the people were interesting to me. I didn’t necessarily LIKE all of them, but nevertheless I still found them interesting; I was curious about their history and their future, I wanted to know what happened to them, I cared about their lives.
I particularly liked the way the house itself was a main character, especially the Glass Room and the Onyx Wall - how original! I wonder if the way I conjured it up in my mind is anywhere close to what the author envisioned?
I could not put this book down. The characters are wonderfully drawn and lived for me. The era it covers is written tactfully but its horror is not overlooked. I found a better understanding of the times and the affect on the different nationalities than any history lesson had done. The use of the house as a medium in which to hold the story together works well, however I was dudappointed that I wad never entirely able to visualise the house. Not sure whether that was writer error or more likely my failing. Perhaps the ending was slightly too comfortable but nevertheless I would thoroughly recommend this book.
Jefferson Mays brings this beautiful and moving book to life with his perfect, delicate style. I have enjoyed this immensely and encourage you to read it. Also go to the Villa Tugendhat website and seek out the Virtual Tour to experience the beauty of the house upon which the story is based.