Critics will have as many formulae for explaining this book as there are critics assigned to its dustion, so whatever explanation one chooses will find violent disagreement from all quarters. One thing it proves conclusively, and that is that Nor Mailer is a terrifyingly gifted writer, terrifying in his ability to give nightmares an overwhelming sense of authenticity. To me this book was nightmare from first page to last, the nightmare of sex rampant and indiscriminate, the nightmare of fine minds distorted by phoney theories which they have come to repudiate but failed to disloge. And the har in this nightmare? An abnormal a cross-section of humanity as one could find, from the lodgers on the ttle floor of a Brooklyn lodging house, to the landlady whose raving for next takes anyone that comes, male or female, regardless of the observing eyes and already twisted emotions of her tiny girl child. It is a story that mounts to the of Greek tragedy, and that makes the shock techniques of the early Faulkr, so appalling a generation ago, seem kindergarten stuff.... To me that tragedy lies in the waste of a great gift, on so sordid and horrorifying and unrewarding a goal.