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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  1,504 ratings  ·  263 reviews
Longlisted for the 2020 Simpson / Joyce Carol Oates Literary Prize
One of’s “Best Books of 2020 So Far”
One of Elle’s “Best Books of 2020 So Far”

Named A Most-Anticipated Book by The New York Times , Vogue, The Boston Globe, Salon,
The Millions, Inside Hook, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn

In 1996, the unnamed narrator of Teddy Wayne’s Apartment is attending the MFA writi
Hardcover, 199 pages
Published February 25th 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Glenn Russell

Apartment buildings in Manhattan's StuyTown

Apartment - Teddy Wayne's penetrating portrait of a lonely 24-year-old wannabe novelist living in an illegal sublet of a StuyTown apartment (paid for by his father) as he pursues a graduate degree in writing (also paid for by his father). At the center of the story is the unnamed narrator's friendship with a fellow writing student - dirt poor, unassuming, Illinois bred Billy Campbell, a young man with a special gift for writing fiction.

Since this recen
Elyse  Walters
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
.....a slow start....but ultimately cerebrally-enjoyable- in an exasperating way....with two young flawed pretentious-competitive - lads - as different as night and day...( social class differences, viewpoint differences, style differences, visions for the future, political, economical, cultural differences, motivation, etc.)....
who meet in the MFA fiction-writing program at Columbia University in 1996.
The unnamed narrator invites Billy to move into a spare room in his
★★★★✰ 4 stars

“I'd been happy before just to be his classmate, to learn from him osmotically, but now I grew excited at what this might blossom into, the sort of close, symbiotic relationship I'd hoped grad school would offer and the Hemingway-Fitzgerald complementary pairing I'd always thought necessary to one's artistic development.”

Set in New York between 1996 and 1997 Apartment portrays the making and dissolution of a friendship. Our unnamed narrator, who is attending the MFA writing program
Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

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APARTMENT takes a while to get going, which isn't really a good thing considering what a short book it is. Ultimately, I did end up liking it, as I'm a sucker for tragic endings, and I'd prefer a human tragedy to something that seems too hipster and twee. It has the modern-day Dickensian undertones of Donna Tartt, the generational-specific nostalgia of Douglas Coupland, and the desperate intellectualism of David Foster Wallace.

Take that
Thank you, Netgalley and Bloomsbury for sending me a digital ARC, in exchange for an honest review.

Wow. "Apartment" by Teddy Wayne made me cry. I wasn't expecting to feel a kaleidoscope of emotions, but that ending was...HEARTBREAKING. Ugh.

The unnamed narrator lives in a rent-stabilized apartment in New York, circa 1996. He has been living in the apartment for 6 years as the story opens. His great-aunt is the owner of the apartment, but she allows him to sublet it (illegally) since she currentl
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: out-in-2020
Disclaimer on my current state of mind: I finished this the day that school ended and the state self-isolation began. Needless to say, I've been concerned, distracted, and desperately trying to retain my sanity while homeschooling and dealing with my husband, kids, and dog all day every day.

I loved Loner. I found it fresh and brilliant. Apartment, with its dimensional cover and unnamed narrator, is similarly brilliant, but in a far more understated way. A commentary on too many things to list,
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars. Intense character study that leaves you feeling gutted in the end.
Andrew Smith
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’d really enjoyed Wayne’s last book Loner about a bright Harvard student who is hampered by his introvert nature. I found it a thoughtful and thought provoking piece and it stayed with me for a long time. This time the author’s unnamed narrator is a bright and insecure writer who is on a Master of Fine Arts program at an Columbia University. Could this be a replay of his last book? Thankfully the answer is no, but I already feel that this book might haunt me for a while too.

The story focusses o
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Entertaining, nicely paced, competently written, on the light side of things without being dumb. I have no name for the category – contrary to the narrator, I never studied literature or writing – but Apartment goes in the same imaginary pile for me as Less by Andrew Sean Greer and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. It’s not the plot, obviously, but the tone (friendly) and the approach (no fuss, off we go). As it is, in spite of the protagonist's feelings of inadequacy and constant soul-search ...more
I think Teddy Wayne’s finest sleight of hand as an author is that he does not appear to be employing any sleight of hand. Rather, in this novel as well as in Loner, he so completely animates and inhabits a complex unreliable narrator protagonist whose capricious and volatile journey the reader then unsuspectingly, earnestly, vicariously experiences. The sense of suffocation and isolation that permeates this book would also make it a fitting read for these times. Hope Wayne is busily writing away ...more
Skyler Autumn
Jan 19, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

Books about narcissistic writers are my kryptonite.

Apartment by Teddy Wayne follows two MFA students from different economic and political backgrounds that decide on a bit of a whim to share an illegal sublet in New York. The two seemingly different boys become fast friends, that is until an awkward moment leads to a riff that escalates to an ending so cringe-worthy I felt like adverting my eyes from secondhand embarrassment.

Although not the most original or groundbreaking novel I d
Dec 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel might have been named Loner had Teddy Wayne not used that title for his previous novel. Although the loner here is a person of a very different nature. In fact, as far as comparisons go, this might be a superior novel than its predecessor, but it is considerably less flashy. And the characters are somewhat more mature…or, at the very least, older. I seem to read a Teddy Wayne novel every 3 years and this, my third one by him, each liked well enough to warrant checking out the next one ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
As myself and a contingent of my high school friends departed for our freshman year of college, we paired up as roommates as a way to bring some familiarity to an otherwise very unfamiliar setting. Most of us did, anyway. By design, my friend Eric decided to take the plunge and go in blind. It didn’t work out. In fact, it didn’t work out twice.

This wasn’t by any means a condemnation of my buddy; he was simply on the receiving end of some bad luck. After all, it’s difficult to establish an immed
Jessica Woodbury
3.5 stars.
This book is a throwback, but one with a distinctly modern feel. It's an interesting mashup of 90's culture with 10's awareness.

The throwback is not just the setting (1996-1997, complete with the presidential election, the Packers/Patriots Super Bowl, and inescapable Friends references) and the subject (the privileged-white-guy-in-an-MFA program subject matter isn't exactly the height of fashion at the moment) but some good old-fashioned homoeroticism. That's the one part of the narra
Alison Hardtmann
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
"There is no good reason, at this stage of your life, to play it safe and hold back," she'd said. "This is the time to experiment and make mistakes and open yourself up to brutally honest feedback. That's the only way to grow as an artist. Fail again, fail better."

The narrator of this novel is lucky enough to not only have a father paying his tuition and living costs, while he's attending the Colombia MFA program, but he's living in his great-aunt's apartment, a rent-controlled two bedroom, a mu
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
We all know someone like the unnamed first-person narrator of Apartment—lurking around the periphery of a social circle, uncomfortable in his own space, trying hard to fit “airbrushing…unpalatable blemishes here and there.”

This unnamed first-year MFA student lives in his own space—literally and figuratively. He sublets his great-aunt’s rent-controlled Stuy Town apartment. In class one day, while his workshopped story is taking a skewering, another student defends him: Billy, a product of rural
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a quiet book that grew on me as it went along. In the end I thought it was extremely poignant. By the way the narrator seems to have a huge secret but (view spoiler) ...more
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
It seems weird to give up on such a slim book. Surely one can make it through just over 200 pages?

But, nope. I fall on my sword. I give up.

I still give this three stars because I think it's likely a perfect book...for someone else. There's nothing wrong with the way it's written. The characters, though I disliked them, were well-drawn. But nothing happened and nothing kept happening.

I will admit that this is personal preference. I don't like books that meander and seem to exist only to make sta
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5, rounded down.

My sincere thank to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for providing me a pre-publication ARC in exchange for this honest review.

This proved to be a very quick read for me, and there was much to admire in it, although it also proved a mite unsatisfying in some respects. Mainly it's a young man's story, and since it has been quite some time since I qualified as part of such a generation, I found it hard to relate to a lot of the concerns; in other words, a case of 'it's not y
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, favorites, arc
the *clenches fist* masculinity
Nov 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What started as an easy going enough account on student life, turned to a captivatingly fast-paced bit of plotting and an ever sharper character study towards the later half.

The scene to scene progression and the character interactions felt smooth regardless changes in pacing, but there was certain notable forcedness in the fashion with which the prose kept dropping in separate popular contemporary references one by one; their popularized or future relative specificity standing out quite inorgan
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"A novel set in the late 90s in which the protagonist and his roommate watch Friends and their classmates quote episodes, and make jokes about which Friends character they are? Could I be any more impressed?"

Read my thoughts in full at
Follow @whatjamesread on Instagram here.
May 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was oddly drawn to this book & couldn't put it down. I felt sort of guilty for liking it, because on the outside it's just yet another novel about alienation from the perspective of a privileged white guy, who's in an MFA program, no less. And yet, why did I relate to him so much? His excessive sweating in nervous situations, his loneliness & struggles to bond with people, his performative way of interacting with others... it reminds me of why I love reading fiction, because, to paraphrase DFW ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
As beautifully as it's written, and as believable as its portrait of the insularity and self-importance of a creative milieu might be, there's something kind of nasty about "Apartment" which keeps me from loving it. The narrator is a cosseted, emotionally stunted, and in all probability intensely closeted aspiring writer with little talent and no redeeming qualities whatsoever. On a whim he invites Billy, a classmate in his Columbia MFA program, to stay in his rent-subsidized Manhattan apartment ...more
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
God damn, Teddy Wayne, at least give me some Novocaine before you shatter every last one of the illusions about life to which I cling.
Fraser Simons

“Sometimes the only way to start over in life is to burn down the house.”

Simultaneously evoking the conventional while being unconventional itself, Apartment has an uncanny knack of casting you into the role of the unnamed narrator-protagonist.

They — He — You? — are a somewhat middling, but still budding, writer in an MFA program at Columbia University. Here we meet Billy. Broke but charismatic; naturally gifted, the embodiment of small-town, kind of jock,
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
First of all, I think all novels should be around 195 pages. Maybe 250. Second of all, epilogues that jump decades forward should be eliminated from fiction; Alice Munro perfected that and nobody else can do it as well. It undermines the tightness of the story. Finally, this is a great character piece that could do with *less* plot
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: published-2020
A precisely written and observed character study examining male friendships, class differences, and mid-90's culture. Teddy Wayne is reliably good. ...more
Greg Zimmerman
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
First appeared at https://www.thenewdorkreviewofbooks.c...

File this one under "wheelhouse novel" for me. Teddy Wayne's new novel, Apartment, is about two dudes who share an...wait for it... apartment in mid-1990s NYC. These two guys, who meet in their MFA program at Columbia, spend their time boozing, reading, and working on their novels. Fair warning: This is the white dudiest of white dude novels. So of course I loved it. But this is no dumbass Tucker Max book. It's a thoughtful examination of
Apr 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Reading this book felt a little bit like a kid that can't decide which toy they want to play with. There were so many threads that were picked up and then abandoned, it was confusing cause like...why introduce them then? At times, it felt like three acts that were smashed together. First act is about class differences, second act is a homoerotic journey, the third act is something else entirely.
It's certainly an interesting exploration of class and masculinity. There was a point in the story wh
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Teddy Wayne is the author of the novels "The Love Song of Jonny Valentine" (Free Press, Feb. 2013) and "Kapitoil" (Harper Perennial) and is the recipient of a 2011 Whiting Writers' Award, an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, the 2011 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize runner-up, and a finalist for the 2011 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award finalist and the 2011 Dayton Literary Peace Prize. ...more

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“Remember this, I commanded myself again, though I knew that this memory--like all of them--would lose an essential and truthful quality over the years. The notion that we repress or redact significant chunks of the past strikes me as a dramatic contrivence for storytellers more than a realistic psychological phenonomen, but that we alter or retrospection in subtle ways, to airbrush out unpalatable flemishes here and there, much as we sweep detritus in our present consciousness under the carpet: that seems quite natural.” 2 likes
“Sometimes the only way to start over in life is to burn down the house.” 1 likes
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