1/2 stars. 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. **** This book has been well reviewed, but I simply could not identify with either character. I did not find the insights or meditations described above. There are no aha moments of self understanding. There is no narrative arc. There is no ending. I can't even remember if they found an apartment... This is a stream of consciousness book a la "Ulysses". I sometimes think that positive reviewers of such books praise them because they don't want to admit they did not understand them. As a phi beta kappa, summa cum lauda college graduate and former college teacher, I think I am smart enough to understand most modern literature, but I did not find the nuances ascribed to this little book.
This is a marvelous novel. It is written in what I call a "modified stream of consciousness" style and is a wonderful and easy read. I highly recommend it. Tim Monnich
"An unnamed American in an unnamed European city spends a day seeking a rental apartment with the help of a new acquaintance, a woman named Saskia - and that's essentially the entirety of the plot in this methodical, meditative book. But the narrator's thoughts range broadly, from memories of deceased friends to ruminations on his time in Iraq, first in the Navy and then as a contractor. Though The Apartment will appeal the most to fans of thoughtful, character-driven novels, it should also interest readers who want to explore the role and perception of American power in the world." Fiction A to Z January 2014 newsletter http://www.libraryaware.com/996/NewsletterIssues/ViewIssue/08d5616c-a421-41b2-9f98-6535d3775ee7?postId=a9ff8cf2-4c1b-4150-af29-533cdefdcca0
I started out with a sense that the storyline could develop into an interesting, perhaps psychologically thrilling read. It didn't. I got bored.
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