The landlord is Elgar Enders, rich, blond, and fugitive from a Mothaw who named him after a minor composer and a Fathaw who prefers to deny his existence. In defence and defiance, Elgar hides out at the Trejour Apartments, where he keeps Borden, a likably human Viennese psychiatrist in residence: his fortunes take a new turn when he buys the house at 709 Poplar Street, in the colored section, and acquires an unlikely clutch of tenants. There is the alluring Fanny, with whom he dallies, her violent husband who takes turns at being Indian and Black Moslem, Marge Perkins, former, jazz singer who has turned to cooking and witchcraft, P. Eldrige DuBois, who sells college diplomas and has transvestite parties. This mixture offers more than integration when Elgar moves in--eventually, through various developments, it provides Elgar an identity, as he becomes their knight in (literally) shining armor and fends off demolition by taking on an Urban Renewal project of his own. In the process he becomes his own man. Kristin Hunter's first novel (God Bless the Child. p. 669, 1964) treated human foibles and ambitions from the underprivileged side of the tracks: this time she has crossed them to introduce a sympathetic poor little rich boy. While she maintains her ear for dialogue, her sense of the outrageous and human, the seriocomic elements of her story do not quite balance out, and even though her hero firms up, her story doesn't.