Condominium, published in 1977, is a massive novel approaching 500 pages in the original edition, and uses the Florida Gulf Coast retirement condominium Golden Sands as its glorious symbol. The condominium is facing destruction by a massive hurricane both physically and spiritually and financially. Marketed as the place to spend the golden years, it may be a bit tarnished in practice. The construction is shoddy. A retired engineer notes how cheaply the foundations are built on landfill on what is basically a giant sandbar that will not withstand a major hurricane. The economy is in a tailspin and the ever-popular retirement condominiums are not so popular. The HOA fees are way under what they need to be to pay all the ongoing expenses, particularly when the whole building has not sold. Of course, it doesn’t help that the HOA has been set up with twenty five year contracts with corrupt management companies that are designed to service the development on the cheap. In back of the building, the shoreline and its delicate ecosystem are being bulldozed for yet another development and the promised views are going to disappear.
The on-site manager couple includes a rude obnoxious custodian who doesn’t give a crap about the residents other than to try to bed any lady he can. The real estate agent and the developer are slipping into bed together as are the developer’s lawyer and the wife of the city council member who the developer is bribing with envelopes of cash. Then, we get to the residents and MacDonald introduces us to dozens, some who bought in on their last dimes, some who can afford to walk away, others who are worried about the loss of views, and suddenly it’s ripe for a residential revolt.
MacDonald gives us in-depth and humorous over the top descriptions of dozens of residents. He gives us a pending disaster on so many levels as it all progresses toward the end and the development on so many levels are s rotten to its foundations,