One snowy morning in December an American guy leaves his shabby hotel in an old European town to meet a local woman. He wants to rent an apartment and she has agreed to help him to find one. The novel follows the couple as they walk across a blurry, illogical and frozen city into the past the man desperately wants to forget.
The events narrated in the novel takes place over the course of a single day in the life of the protagonist. Christmas is fast approaching, but the 41-year-old American finds hardly any reason to rejoice. He recounts the life of dislocation that has brought him to this place. He feels that this will be his final destination. But will that place ever be home? Interestingly he never felt home in his native country either. He was unhappy during his tours of Iraq, the years he served in the military and then as a civilian mercenary, selling intelligence for blood money.
Contained within the details is a subtle meditation on America’s relationship with the rest of the world. The novel also explores our not-so-advisable desire to cure violence with violence.
The Apartment is a novel about our complex relationship with ourselves and others and shows how this relationship shapes our perception of the world. It captures the excitement that comes with being a stranger in a strange city.
The novel engages the world on a number of levels—political, moral and aesthetic. Of course readers might feel that at times the novelist’s ruminations on art goes over the top, but that is hardly an issue.
The Apartment is a great debut novel written in an intimate and engaging tone.