We meet Tannenbaum in his ‘cosy Anne Frankish semi-hidden nook’. These writerly Jewish recluses have very little else in common; Tannenbaum is separated from his wife and two children. His friend/lover Anise is trying to drink her way out of a nervous breakdown. For further solace he resorts to ‘horizontal unravelling’ or ‘psychiatric horizontality’.
Tannenbaum also may or may not have met William Burroughs and S.J. Perelman. Each time he leaves his ‘post-marriage’ flat, Tannenbaum says goodbye to the two hundred copies of his novel Madness, which he had received in lieu of royalties. These Madnesses are the best friends he has.