Books: Off the Wall the Building by Thomas Glynn

by Thomas Glynn Knopf; 371 pages; $18.95

Meet the neighbors: a pair of muggers named Visa and MasterCharge, a misplaced Mormon, an abandoned rabbi, an African dictator, a welfare mother in double- digit pregnancies, a sniper, a man assembling a Chevy Nova in his living room, a 400-lb. dope dealer with an M.B.A., a family of Cambodians trying to farm their floorboards, mythic creatures known as the Nordic Ice Queen and the Madonna of Heat, and two ex-dancers who sell Tupperware.

Plausible by New York City standards, these and other characters in Thomas Glynn's second novel (his first, Temporary Sanity, was published in 1976) live in the Building,...

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