I just finished re-reading Condominium (not today’s cover, this one). It’s been a long, long time since I last read it and I wasn’t sure how it would hold up. I remembered liking it but didn’t remember why. The good news is that I did enjoy it this time around and now I know why.
Although the novel is supposedly a disaster story of a hurricane striking a condominium, to me that is just an excuse for John D MacDonald to do what he does best: create character after character after character, each with a detailed and well-thought out back story. And that’s exactly what he does for two-thirds of the book. Many of the characters are JDM staples: the officious, arrogant petty tyrant, the call girl who thinks she is living the good life, the ruthless land speculator, the vacuous housewife, the dishonest official, the psychotic, and the earnest engineer (the only likable character in the whole book). Frankly, I liked this part better than the actual hurricane.
A review by Jared complains that the hurricane is telegraphed too soon, although I saw no reference to it until page 288. He also feels that MacDonald’s Murder in the Wind, also a hurricane story, had better characterization despite being much shorter. I won’t argue that (mostly because I agree!), but Condo is supposed to be a sweeping, gigantic disaster story while Wind was, imho, intended to be a character piece with the disaster used as a setting. Even though Wind did it better, I still liked this aspect of Condo.
The book clearly states that the condo is seven stories high. Why does the cover show it being sixteen?
Aw, Jeez, did I really screw up and post #521 before #520? Yep, I did. My life is over.