Apartment in Athens (New York Review Books Classics)

by Glenway Wescott

Paperback, 2004



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NYRB Classics (2004), 296 pages


Like Wescott's extraordinary novella The Pilgrim Hawk (which Susan Sontag described in The New Yorker as belonging "among the treasures of 20th-century American literature"), Apartment in Athens concerns an unusual triangular relationship. In this story about a Greek couple in Nazi-occupied Athens who must share their living quarters with a German officer, Wescott stages an intense and unsettling drama of accommodation and rejection, resistance and compulsion--an account of political oppression and spiritual struggle that is also a parable about the costs of closeted identity.

User reviews

LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
Glenway Wescott was a good friend of Somerset Maugham's, and so I had hoped he might have come under his influence more than is suggested by this novel. Or, perhaps that's unfair; Maugham was a great teller of tales but sometimes he lacked the philosophical insight into his characters that might
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have propelled him into the first rate; Wescott's book is more devoted to the psychology of his characters than the lives they live.

'Apartment in Athens' is an interesting piece, following the life for a year of a family in Athens whose home is taken over by a German officer during the second world war. Their routines are shattered, they suffer the depravities of subservience, and in the end they are punished though they are innocent. The characters, and indeed the plot, work well as metaphors for the war and the warring nations, but one has to wonder if there is enough here for a novel. A novella, or a piece in a collection of short stories, might have been more suitable; as it is, there is not enough plot here to carry the book all the way.
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LibraryThing member Schmerguls
I read this book in February 1947 but was not moved to mention it in the diary I kept in those days and now I don't remember anything about it so I conclude it was not very memorable.
LibraryThing member michaelbartley
a story about a family forced to take in a German soldier in Athens during ww 2. the first part of the novel is told from the husband and German soldier's point of view, the second half from the wife. the novel has some very interesting twists. a nice read


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Physical description

296 p.; 7.98 inches


1590170814 / 9781590170816
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