The Apartment: A Novel (Hardcover)

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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

ANA MENÉNDEZ has published four books of fiction: Adios, Happy Homeland!; The Last War; Loving Che; and In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd. She has worked as a journalist in the United States and abroad, most recently as a prize-winning columnist for The Miami Herald. As a reporter, she wrote about Cuba, Haiti, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and India. Her work has appeared in Vogue, BOMB, The New York Times, and Tin House and has been included in several anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. She has a BA in English from Florida International University and an MFA from New York University. From 2008 to 2009, she lived in Cairo as a Fulbright Scholar. She has also lived in India, Turkey, Slovakia, and the Netherlands, where she designed a creative writing minor at Maastricht University in 2011. She is currently an associate professor at Florida International University with joint appointments in English and the Wolfsonian Public Humanities Lab.

Praise For…

"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
Product Details
ISBN: 9781640095830
ISBN-10: 1640095837
Publisher: Counterpoint
Publication Date: June 27th, 2023
Pages: 240
Language: English