"Teddy Wayne sets his fourth novel, the darkly comic and emotionally intelligent Apartment, in 1996. Part of the historical novel’s task is to look at the past not with nostalgia but with precision, and Apartment does this exactly. Beyond period details, though, the historical novel needs to give a sense for the talk and feel of the time — what could and couldn’t be spoken of, what could and couldn’t be imagined. And it’s in this deeper re-creation that Wayne elevates Apartment from a convincing historical facsimile to a work of art…. [he] looks at it all — masculinity, literary ambition, our decade of free trade and liberalism triumphant — and finds the rot underneath." - The Boston Globe
"There’s perhaps no living writer better at chronicling the most crucial emotional flash points of the young modern male than Teddy Wayne… Wayne’s knack for unpacking the fragility of masculinity continues to shine in his latest book, the slim, binge-worthy Apartment, especially when it’s bundled up in themes of artistic worth and privilege." - The A.V. Club
"It builds to a carefully seeded climax that will leave readers — and especially writers—queasy… subtly layered prose… its sobering climax is bound to stay with you long after you close the door on Apartment." - NPR
"Apartment is about a volatile friendship between two men… Wayne, in the terrible-roommates tradition of Sam Shepard and Miranda July, rigorously draws out their dance of attraction and repulsion." - The New York Times Book Review
"The best jokes make you laugh and feel sad all at once, and that….describes my response to Teddy Wayne’s fourth novel, Apartment, which takes on the subject of male friendship—and indeed, quite a bit more…. A taut story that the author bravely sees through to its inevitable end." - The New Republic
"Wayne's attention to detail and language serves almost as a surgeon's scalpel, gently peeling back layered topics — friendship, class, sexuality — to reveal an engrossing survey of male insecurity and frailty…Carefully written and evocative with an airtight plot." - Salon
"There’s a trickiness and intimacy to Wayne’s tale of two aspiring novelists that makes it more than a yarn about literary ambition. For one thing, it’s a savvy class novel." - USA Today
"Teddy Wayne’s fiction takes the reader into the minds of conflicted, sometimes toxic characters, to powerful effect. His latest novel, Apartment, chronicles the unlikely bond between two men who meet in 1996 New York and wrestle with their radically different worldviews. It’s a fascinating exploration of class, art, and human interaction." - Vol. 1 Brooklyn
"Teddy Wayne has a knack for taking the darkest thoughts and feelings men might have, holding a mirror up to them and then churning out books that will stick with you long after you finish them… Read Loner and Apartment to find out why Wayne is one of our most important contemporary authors." - Inside Hook "The 6 New Books You Should Be Reading This February"
"It’s 1996, and Wayne’s achingly lonely narrator is enrolled in Columbia’s M.F.A. program, where he finds solace in an unexpectedly intense friendship with a fellow student, Billy. When he offers Billy the chance to live rent-free in his apartment, the relationship becomes a crucible, driven by questions about power, class and masculinity." - The New York Times, “14 New Books to Watch For in February.”
"An amusing, increasingly uneasy account of an odd couple and their unstable power dynamic." - Vogue, Best Books of 2020 So Far
"A deftly composed novel…its ideas about masculinity, gender, and class will rattle around your mind for ages." - Elle, Best Books of 2020 So Far
"Wayne's latest foray into the dark minds of lonely young men follows the rise and fall of a friendship between two aspiring fiction writers on opposite sides of a vast cultural divide. . . . [He] captures the nuances of this dynamic—a musky cocktail of intimacy and rage and unspoken mutual resentment—with draftsmanlike precision, and when the breaking point comes, as, of course, it does, it leaves one feeling vaguely ill, in the best way possible. A near-anthropological study of male insecurity." - Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"Subtle, fascinating...Wayne excels at creating a narrator both observant of his surroundings and deluded about his own feelings...A careful meditation on class and power." - Publishers Weekly
"As he did in Loner (2016), Wayne emphasizes the gap between social isolation and an intense internal life, and uses the contrast to explore contemporary cultural anxieties in tenderly close focus." - Booklist
"Apartment, which brims with desperation, brilliantly captures the complex and complicated layers of loneliness…What follows is a subtle, sly page-turner about disconnection and its impact." - The Millions
"The rare page-turner that always maintains its dignity as a moving portrait of loneliness and longing." - Joshua Ferris
"Apartment is full of keenly observed, stinging insights that compound in intensity long after the initial read." - Ling Ma, author of SEVERANCE
"Apartment is a piercing investigation of male intimacy, privilege, and literary ambition that's as witty and insightful as it is heartrending. I couldn't look away." - Julie Buntin, author of MARLENA
"What a remarkable raritya guy-meets-guy novel about male friendship and intimacy. Apartment is a propulsive and powerfully focused exploration of masculine insecurity, anxiety, and ambivalence." - Chris Bachelder, author of THE THROWBACK SPECIAL
"In Apartment, class, ambition, and New York real estate are the components in one mortal's struggle to know the world and its surprises about who is outsmarting what. A terrific piece of work." - Joan Silber, author of IMPROVEMENT
"Apartment’s narrowness of scope is what makes this compact, chiseled book effective. . . . Wayne skillfully captures the subtle tensions of male relationships: men’s tendency to prioritize amicability over emotional engagement, for example, and the ways upbringing and class influence masculinity. . . . Dark, sad, and highly readable — I finished this slim novel in three sittings." - Washington Examiner
Wayne's latest foray into the dark minds of lonely young men follows the rise and fall of a friendship between two aspiring fiction writers on opposite sides of a vast cultural divide.
In 1996, our unnamed protagonist is living a cushy New York City life: He's a first-year student in Columbia's MFA program in fiction (the exorbitant bill footed by his father) who's illegally subletting his great-aunt's rent-controlled East Village apartment (for which his father also foots the bill). And it is in this state—acutely aware of his unearned advantages, questioning his literary potential, and deeply alone—that he meets Billy. Billy is an anomaly in the program: a community college grad from small-town Illinois, staggeringly talented, and very broke. But shared unease is as strong a foundation for friendship as any, and soon, our protagonist invites Billy to take over his spare room, a mutually beneficial if precarious arrangement. They are the very clear products of two different Americas, one the paragon of working-class hardscrabble masculinity, the other an exemplar of the emasculating properties of parental wealth—mirror images, each in possession of what the other lacks. "He would always have to struggle to stay financially afloat," our protagonist realizes, "and I would always be fine, all because my father was a professional and his was a layabout. I had an abundance of resources; here was a concrete means for me to share it." And he means it, when he thinks it, and for a while, the affection between them is enough to (mostly) paper over the awkward imbalance of the setup. Wayne (Loner, 2016) captures the nuances of this dynamic—a musky cocktail of intimacy and rage and unspoken mutual resentment—with draftsmanlike precision, and when the breaking point comes, as, of course, it does, it leaves one feeling vaguely ill, in the best way possible.
A near-anthropological study of male insecurity.