Swift, who peopled his Texas romps (Splendora, Principia Martindale, and A Place with Promise) with lots of charming oddballs, sets his latest in Manhattan, where lunatics seldom seem lovable. And, despite Swift's best intentions, the crazies in this heavy-handed comedy aren't even bearable. What links the goofy habitues of this Grenwich Village park is their very irregularity. That's what makes Christopher Park so special: everyone can indulge their madness without fear--they can create, they can pontificate, and they can just be themselves. There's Andrew T. Andrews, a 48-year-old unpublished novelist who chucked his successful engineering career and his family for artistic poverty on Bleecker Street. There's "The High Fiber Man," the heir to a breakfast cereal fortune who has kinky sexual tastes, and who kidnaps an innocent out-of-towner to murder his spendthrift mother. There's Maria la Hija de Jesus, a Mexican transvestite, who's a cult actress in off-off-Broadway theater--her wild life is meant to testify to the need for fantasy. There's C.C.Wake, a self-described earthquake expert and street shrink who counsels crack-up victims on the pay-phone outside the park. A Chauncey Gardiner type, he talks natural disasters while his clients talk mental ones. Other ostensibly zany characters are the focus of individual chapters as well, and include: an obscure composer haunted by his Nobelist brother's success; a jilted lover who strikes poses in the park; and a woman of unsurpassable beauty who finds respite from wolfish men only in the park. All of these passionate loons are watched over by Dr. Walter Wormser, a Jungian analyst whose specialty is "personality assessment through tree drawings." Swift smartly includes an ugly, vicious, book-hating book reviewer among the bunch of fruitcakes who hang out in Christopher Park; he thereby provides a built-in explanation for the negative reviews this predictable piece of campiness is sure to elicit from real-life critics.