The Apartment tells the story of a couple, Mark and Steph, who struggle to move on with their lives after armed robbers broke into their home and brutalised them. Shaken, they decide to get away and leave their troubles behind. A house swap in Paris with a couple they meet online, the Petits, seems to provide the perfect escape. But upon arriving for a week’s luxurious break, they find themselves in a festering, run-down apartment. And when Steph attempts to contact the Petits, she gets no answer.
Unable to relax following a series of increasingly unsettling events, they decide to return home. Yet when they arrive, neither of them can shake the feeling that there’s now something sinister about their own house. As time passes, Mark is terrorised by a series of unsettling visions. But is it all in his imagination or is there a far more worrying explanation…?
I have never particularly liked reading fictional horror novels. The few that I’ve read were your cliché family-in-house-family-gets-killed-one-family-member-survives-the-end type of stories. I was, however, drawn to this one as it was set in my home city, Cape Town and touches on somewhat common problems in South Africa.
After reading this book (and I’m sure many fans of this genre would agree) perhaps classifying The Apartment as a “horror” is reaching. There are a few unsettling moments in the book, but nothing that emphatically sends chills down your spine.
The alternating chapters between the main characters Mark and Steph was something I thoroughly enjoyed though. Being able to view the story from both perspectives was rather refreshing. For example, through Mark’s eyes you could say that Steph was a naïve spoilt 24-year-old, but seeing the world through her eyes somewhat changed my mind as I could see the reason behind her decisions.
A few issues I have with the storyline:
- Why is the couple out buying expensive sheets for their guests when we are constantly reminded that the couple is, in fact, poor and cannot afford such luxuries?
- Why, after having strangers invade their home, would they travel to a foreign country and stay at complete strangers’ home?
The Apartment is in some way the untold story of what happens after a tragic incident occurs.
I think that anyone who enjoys over-the-top drama type of stuff would love this book. It gives the reader your typical relationship issues, the deep-rooted disturbing past, the life-changing devastation of a traumatic event, as well as other aspects that make for an epic drama/thriller.
- S.L. Grey – Under Ground
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