My thoughts: The Apartment has so much I love: a European setting, a mysterious expat, a narrator who is clearly withholding information, and a setting of a single day in the life (with a length making it possible to read in a single setting.) And Beth loved it. Sadly, I didn't. I had trouble connecting to the narrative and I never quite bought in to the novel itself. It felt forced. When the narrator withheld information, I wanted to be wowed as the truths were slowly revealed. Instead of feeling mysterious, I felt Baxter trying too hard behind the scenes. Instead of feeling like I was exploring this city along with the narrator and Saskia, I never felt they were real people. I found the character of Saskia particularly troubling, as she felt like a caricature of a person rather than a real person.
Favorite passage: "I get a lot of pleasure out of the secrecy of this city. This is something Saskia and I have in common."
The verdict: I'm not a reader who needs a lot of plot or action, but in the absence of those things, I need a character who feels like a person I'm getting to know. Or I need to be wowed by the author's use of language and construction of sentences. Or I need a big moment that makes the journey worth it in the end. For me, The Apartment had none of these. I loved the idea of this novel, but I did not enjoy its execution. It wasn't awful, and there were sections and passages I did enjoy, but as a whole, it didn't work for me.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Length: 209 pages
Publication date: December 3, 2013
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Apartment from Amazon (Kindle edition.)
Want more? Greg Baxter's next novel, Munich Airport, comes out January 27, 2015.
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