Wednesday, July 09, 2014
The Apartment by Greg Baxter was a spontaneous purchase. The joys of book shops. Wandering the store. Exploring new releases. Nice cover. Curious title. Read the 1st page. Sometimes a complete stranger will speak to you. Just the way the words fall together. And you'll buy something you didn't know previously existed.
This is how I picked up The Apartment. A newly released hardback, at the time. By an author I'd never heard of. But it spoke to me. And even better it paid off - which is not always the case. Even if I do mostly trust my instincts.
The Apartment is on one level a simple story. And it is on that level that I enjoy it the most. A man has moved from the US to Europe, an unnamed city. Though from the description it feels like Vienna to me. He has an appointment to see an apartment, but is early so has time to kill. It is winter, he spends a lot of time walking. So he decides a good jacket would be good.
On that level the simplicity of it works for me. Obviously it is more than that. It is the language. The character. Into the base idea we get a history of the character and his choices. His family relationship with the city. The people he has met and nascent friendship resulting. Which is to say in the story of a man shopping for a jacket we get life.
It is hard to entirely explain why it worked for me. I can see it doesn't sound obvious. But I enjoyed. A lot.
So I occasionally keep my eyes open for new work by the author. But last night I was wandering the book shop. Frustrated by two novels in a row that did not connect. And there, in hardback, in the new releases - the new novel by Greg Baxter "Munich Airport". So I bought it and I'm reading it.