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  1. During a 100m sprint, the sprinter accelerates for a few seconds and then gradually slows to the finish line. In this sense, the winner is invariably the one that slows down the slowest. The first half of The Glass Room is a joy to read. Exciting dialogue between the characters that tempts you to reread pages on the spot to savour the language. Rich and dense texts mixing philosophy with polical thought. The novel centres on an architectural masterpiece built in Czechoslovakia, as a dwelling for a rich family, the husband being a Jew. The chef d’oeuvre is the living room with glass walls. It is set at the outset before WW II and ends in 1990. It spans a revolutionary period of history where the only aspects that seem stable are the foundations of the house itself. But, in my humble opinion, the novel fails to keep pace. Its initial sprint is outstanding but it slows down faster than other rivals, also in the Booker shortlist. From such an elevated beginning it has a harder fall before it. It fails to follow interesting characters and their stories throughout the narrative. The Glass Room is the focal point and the common denominator of the characters but you are left reading the final page wondering whether the author pulled it off throughout the length of the book. It is nevertheless worth the read and I highly recommend it. Whether it is in the lead, I’m no longer quite sure. An excellent read, nevertheless. I'm just a hard marker. Four out of Five. Phoebus
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