Desperate Characters: A Novel by Paula Fox:
They drove through miles of Queens, where factories, warehouses, and gas stations squeezed up against two-story, two-family houses so mean and shabby that, by contrast, the ranks of uniform and tidy tombstones rising from cemetery islets that thrust up among the dwellings seemed to offer a more humane future. Sidewalks, brutal slabs of cracked cement, ran for a block or two, then inexplicably petered out, and along the center of the tarmac streets, short lengths of old trolley tracks occasionally gleamed among the potholes. Here and there, the skeleton of a vast new apartment complex sat on the rent ground; tree roots and rocks and earth rolled up around its foundation. Cries of boredom and rage were scrawled across the walls of factories, and among these threats and imprecations, invitations and anatomy lessons, the face of an Alabama presidential candidate stared with sooty dead eyes from his campaign posters, claiming this territory as his own. His country, warned the poster—vote for him—pathology calling tenderly to pathology.