The Building

Thomas Glynn, Author Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (371p) ISBN 978-0-394-54582-0
Packed with nervous energy, glittering with satiric irony, this brilliant, surrealistic novel turns an apartment building into the epitome of urban depravity and the decline of civilization. The Building is a netherworld of dope dealers, evangelists, excrement artists, fetishists and whores. Among its occupants: a lunatic who kidnaps and carries on his shoulders a dwarf chained by the philosophy professor who owns him; a painter whose only subject is madonnas, the models for whom he locks in his freezing studio; a black man who awakens every morning fearing that he's turned white; a womanbut does she live in the Building?who walks naked down Eastern Parkway carrying her books and levis, plaid shirt and cowboy hat; a paraplegic raped by pushers named MasterCharge and Visa. Each of these and scores more saunter trouble-bent through the Building, whose floors run with urine, whose roof leaks because the gypsies who sold it to the owner stole the wrong roof and put it on the wrong buiding. The city takes over, fixes the furnace, plasters the walls, mends the doors, but cannot stem the metastasizing grafitti: slowly, inexorably, the seeds of riot sprout. The end is conflagration, bringing the book, which has burned brightly all along, to the conclusion ordained by its author's powerful, tragi-comedic vision. January 13
Reviewed on: 12/02/1985
Release date: 12/01/1985
Discover what to read next