I have been racking my brain trying to remember the name of this book ever since joining goodreads, so that I could put it on my "read" list.
I've just found it -- seconds ago!! -- in a pile under my living room coffee table. Which tells you how well (badly) I catalogue my books, not to mention remember them.
This book is extraordinary. I'd give it five stars, but I'd have to re-read it to be absolutely certain of my recollection. I don't even know if my 4-star rating is because I liked the book, so much as it is a comment on the absolute originality of it.
It is difficult to describe and do any justice, especially over the distance of a year or more since I've read it. As it is, it exists in a kind of wash of bizarre, eccentric, strangely charming and quirky details about the voice, the characters, the themes and plot.
Francis, central character, is wonderfully disturbed and described: a kleptomaniac, obsessive-compulsive, possibly autistic? 37-yr-old, who lives in a crumbling apartment building with his parents (kind of). A new person moves in, shaking Francis to his very core and upsetting the very delicate balance he requires to retain his sanity (is he sane? I don't know)--but also freeing him, forcing him to learn to live a different way and more 'in the world'.
I will re-read this, and perhaps come back with a more articulate review. Consider this a tease. If A Confederacy of Dunces
married The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-time
, while keeping Bartleby the Scrivener
as its mistress, and Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe were both distant ancestors, Observatory Mansions
would be the offspring.