You don’t know the main character’s name. You don’t know the city he’s from or the country he’s in now. You know bits of his life, sprinkled into the narrator haphazardly, randomly, a few details peaking their heads out of the otherwise flat, anonymous soil.
Thus is The Apartment by Greg Baxter. The short novel, clocking in at just under 200 pages and contained in a single chapter, follows a man who, after years of military service, finds himself searching for an apartment in an unlabeled European city. It’s told stream-of-consciousness style, meaning that the book is simply his thoughts as he acquaints himself with this new city and reacquaints with…well, himself. A thought-driven novel means that nothing is quite organized, but everything feels very real, authentic, as though you’re inside the man’s head–or, perhaps, that you’re thinking the thoughts yourself.
This is not a book for readers who enjoy only plot-driven stories; as far as actual action goes, little happens. Yet the thoughts are so interwoven and chaotic (though completely relatable) that, when the few pages have been flipped through, you’ll be left with several days’ worth of thinking through what it all means.
If you enjoy character-driven, descriptive novels, give The Apartment a go.
Thanks for reading. -Autumn