The Apartment

A Novel

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9781640095830 | Hardcover 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 240 pages Buy it Now

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Book Description

From the critically acclaimed author of In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd comes a new novel about the search for freedom and the power of community that spans decades of residents in one Florida apartment

The Helena is an art deco apartment building that has witnessed the changing face of South Miami Beach for seventy years, observing the lives housed within. Among those who have called apartment 2B home are a Cuban concert pianist who performs in a nursing home; the widow of an intelligence officer raising her young daughter alone; a man waiting on a green card marriage to run its course so that he can divorce his wife and marry his lover, all of whom live together; a Tajik building manager with a secret identity; and a troubled young refugee named Lenin. Each tenant imbues 2B with energy that will either heal or overwhelm its latest resident, Lana, a mysterious woman struggling with her own past.

Examining exile, homesickness, and displacement, The Apartment asks what—in our violent and lonely century—do we owe one another? If alone we are powerless before sorrow and isolation, it is through community and the sharing of our stories that we may survive and persevere.

About the Author

Praise For This Book

Elle, A Best New Book of the Summer

"Throughout the story of a single Miami apartment, readers learn that the places in which we dwell are as much a part of us as those we love. The Apartment's self-contained vignettes—with key overlaps in time—narrate the lives of veterans, housewives, immigrants, ghosts, and precious children." —The Boston Globe

"With themes of exile, displacement, and homesickness, this novel shows the power of community and sharing stories to get through the toughest times." —Zibby Owens, Katie Couric Media

"Menedez finds a perfect setting for her ambitious crossroads-of-humanity story: an apartment building in South Miami Beach, an old deco structure from a seemingly bygone era, hanging on and packed full of human striving, conflict, and desperation . . . [T]he novel really finds itself in the rich, textured, sometimes intersecting stories of all those people who have put themselves into close quarters and found, not exactly a community, but a shared ground for longing and remembrance." —Dwyer Murphy, Literary Hub

"One apartment on Miami Beach becomes a microcosm of seven decades of ordinary, extraordinary lives . . . Vividly drawn characters and finely crafted prose enhance these interwoven tales. In Apartment 2B, the walls do talk, and their tales reveal their tenants’ minds and hearts." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Haunting . . . The novel explores many facets of loneliness and isolation and the feeling of being othered and far from home, and it illustrates the often life-saving importance of community." —Booklist (starred review)

"Menéndez’s nesting-doll narrative serves as a thoughtful meditation on the transient nature of home." —Publishers Weekly

"Ana Menéndez gives us an intimate, picturesque tale that grows into a mysterious and supernatural journey through time as the conflicted narrators become ghosts and echoes of each other. Striking and haunting, this powerful novel battles between gut-wrenchingly lonely and harrowing moments in America, and the multifaceted, resilient, and radically caring community that has blossomed against them. It’s a reminder that we breathe new air everyday, that we are always connected to each other, that we survive when we stick together." —Xochitl Gonzalez, author of Olga Dies Dreaming

"Menéndez writes from the gut, expertly crafting the tensions and bitterness of misplacement, the suffocation of place. She also writes from the spleen; Menéndez's acerbic wit finds its way interstitially through the pages of this book, finding another gear for an already beautiful prose. The array of characters, all of whom have jumped out of a frying pan and into a fire, and specifically, into apartment 2B of the Helena, are escaping a past that won't let them be. They're immigrants and refugees whose hopelessness at times obfuscates their political realities: here isn't always better than there. At the center of this book, Menéndez has constructed a home, a building, a city; she's also drawn a line—possibly a circle—that stretches from imperialism to mental health." —Alejandro Varela, author of The People Who Report More Stress

"Ingenious in its construction, intimate in its storytelling, and illuminating in its insights, The Apartment is both an unforgettable reading experience and a fascinating character in itself: like the mysterious stranger next door whose history, hopes, longings, secrets, and surprises thrillingly reveal themselves over time." —Christopher Castellani, author of Leading Men

"Ana Menéndez should be donned the poet laureate of South Beach, but not the South Beach of Versace mansions and trendy nightclubs but a more human place where wanderers seek the kind of quotidian security that often proves so elusive for us all. The Apartment is a jewel of a novel that dares questions the very notion of what we consider home—a stunning meditation on the ghosts we leave behind and the phantoms that are perennially our companions in exile" —Ernesto Mestre-Reed, author of Sacrificio

"Stunning in its intimate yet vast portrayal of humanity, The Apartment tenderly summons the power of our bonds to place and community, evoking the grace of human connections that save us time and time again. A balm for our deeply divided times." —Richard Blanco, Presidential Inaugural Poet, author of The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood

"An exquisite palimpsest of culture, memory, and place, Ana Menendez’s The Apartment is The Canterbury Tales of Miami Beach. A series of vivid, original characters move in and out of apartment 2B, each of them inscribing it with their indelible stories. Rendered in elegant, masterful prose, this novel will enthrall readers and haunt them long after the last page." —Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Fencing with the King

"A dazzling inquiry into the disquietudes of time and place, of past and present, and the global exiles who inhabit the realms in-between. Menéndez's exquisitely-wrought stories—emanating from the lifespan of one modest Miami apartment—offer us no less than the world. A masterful, poetic achievement." —Cristina García, author of Dreaming in Cuban