Walrus-waisted Congressman John J. Sullivan is nearing 60 and fighting his fourteenth primary campaign, but something has happened to his Brooklyn district. His familiar Irish, Poles, Italians and Jews are gone--he faces an 80 percent black and ""Portarickan"" constituency that can't tell ballots from bathroom tissue. A well-heeled young Armenian, financed by his millionaire Jewish mother-in-law, seems a sure winner over Sully. What's more, the Congressman is thousands in debt, has had a mistress for fifteen years, has a homosexual son, and loves his Scotch. There are some sharp scenes: Sully is locked out of his campaign headquarters for nonpayment of rent; is devastatingly kissed off by the mayor; or is sitting drunk in his bathtub while being interviewed by a ladies' committee. The alternating scenes with Aram Yomarian, the challenger, are so unsympathetic and the leads so coldly sexual that one begins to hope Sully will win his despairing campaign, even after he survives a knifing by Black muvvas. His farewell in a 'hospital room when his self-contempt smirches the visiting winner has greater power than the novel as a whole.