Perhaps most New Yorkers are in fact oblivious to the perils and perversions of their monstrous city and its engulfing civilization, but the kind of awareness this French novel purports to convey is of a dubious, not quite desirable nature. The story of a young ex-GI law student who lives in old Clytemnestra's (a name of his own fancy) 14th Street apartment house lit by the ""temple"" atop the Con-Ed building and filled with various unfortunate tenants, the seemingly trumped-up plot abounds with unhappy lives, loves and coincidences. After Clytemnestra's death and owner Greenberg's crazed burning of the nearly condemned building, the hapless student plays house with, and parts from, Greenberg's wife--until Wanda, his love from more pleasant Paris days, returns, pregnant, to reunite with her Southern Negro consort. After a series of sordid events--crowned by Wanda's fatal abortion--and confrontations with ""Nonbeing"", the student is unable to meet even the demands of a law clerk's job and finally takes himself to Bellevue to the ward of the ""Great Dreamers"". Questionable content dressed in desicated prose, the book makes easy, but not good, reading.