One snowy December morning in an old European city, an American man leaves his shabby hotel to meet a local woman who has agreed to help him search for an apartment to rent. The Apartment follows the couple across a blurry, illogical, and frozen city into a past the man is hoping to forget, and leaves them at the doorstep of an uncertain future—their cityscape punctuated by the man’s lingering memories of time spent in Iraq and the life he abandoned in the United States. Contained within the details of this day is a complex meditation on America’s relationship with the rest of the world, an unflinching glimpse at the permanence of guilt and despair, and an exploration into our desire to cure violence with violence.
Review: The Apartment is not recommended for readers who are plot driven, but rather for those who enjoy the stream of consciousness narrative. The plot of this book is very simple. A Navy veteran in his early 40s who has made big money working as a military contractor in Iraq explores an unnamed European city with a possibly romantic interest in a local woman, Saskia. The events in the book take place over the course of one day spent searching for an apartment with the anonymous, military worker who looks back on his role in the American military. The narrator is interesting especially in his cowardice and hypocrisy. Much of the book is exploring how the idea of American power is seen in the global context and how it is actually played in the real world. Transporting an American outside of America is good device of doing so, but I kind of wished the author took this idea a step further and placed his character beyond the Euro-centric country. Nonetheless The Apartment is very well written but be warned there isn't much happening within the pages and the pacing is quite slow despite its short pages.
Rating: 3 stars
Words of Caution: There is some language and mature themes. Recommended for adults only.
If you like this book try: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, Redeployment by Philip Kay