The Apartment

A Novel


By Greg Baxter

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A powerful and elegant debut novel about love, memory, exile, and war.

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.

A novel about how our relationships to others-and most importantly to ourselves-alters how we see the world, The Apartment perfectly captures the peculiarity and excitement of being a stranger in a strange city. Written in an affecting and intimate tone that gradually expands in scope, intensity, poetry, and drama, Greg Baxter’s clear-eyed first novel tells the intriguing story of these two people on this single day. Both beguiling and raw in its observations and language, The Apartment is a crisp novel with enormous range that offers profound and unexpected wisdom.


  • "It is precisely this sort of subversion, along with the author's shimmering prose, that makes THE APARTMENT such a surprisingly compelling read and so apropos; it captures the mood of the current moment and what seems to be a new "lost generation," one formed not so much by exposure to violence, as immunity to and alienation from it. Once upon a time, there was no place like home; in Mr. Baxter's world, home, it seems, is no place."
    Adam Langer, The New York Times
  • "Violence, lurking offstage throughout the story, makes a shocking entrance near the end, setting in place everything that's come before. The effect is devastating, in the best possible way."
    Denver Post
  • "A beautiful meditation on brutality and culture, which are sometimes one and the same."
    Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Hot Five" list
  • "THE APARTMENT is an exciting debut novel, and leaves one eager for Baxter's follow-up, whenever that may be."
    The Daily Beast, Hot Reads
  • "It is one of the best novels I have read in a long time... It is very much to Baxter's credit that he presents this struggle as if it were thriller, love story, philosophical novel and dark comedy combined, in a novel not like a bullet but like an arrow flying straight to the heart of the matter."
    Stacey D'Erasmo, New York Times Book Review
  • "Absorbing, atmospheric and enigmatic...With its disorienting juxtaposition of the absolutely ordinary and the strange and vaguely threatening, the novel evokes the work of Franz Kafka and Haruki Murakami, while its oblique explorations of memory suggest a debt to W.G. Sebald... Baxter's provocative, unsettling novel is, among other things, about the inexorability of identity and 'the immortality of violence.'"
    Los Angeles Times
  • "In this bleak but affecting novel, an unnamed American expat spends a day walking through a frigid, unidentified European city in search of an apartment...The details of his day are rendered with anaesthetized precision and achieve a cumulative force of grief, equanimity, and resolve."
    The New Yorker
  • "In a year marked by epics, it's a relief to delve into this quiet, surprisingly tense debut novel - small enough to fit into a stocking but packing a huge emotional punch."
    Entertainment Weekly
  • "An elegant portrait of a man half-fractured, half-intact-a post-war somebody caught between repair and capitulation, controlling his own fate and imprisoned by regret." --- The Texas Observer

    "In the layered narratives of Baxter's piercing first novel, a young American returned from Iraq struggles to find a new life in Europe."
    New York Times, Sunday Book Review, Editor's Choice

On Sale
Nov 18, 2014
Page Count
224 pages

Greg Baxter

About the Author

Greg Baxter is the author of The Apartment and A Preparation for Death. Originally from Texas, he has lived in Europe for almost two decades. He currently lives in Berlin with his wife and two children.

Learn more about this author