Books: Skeleton of Sin

THE MASK OF INNOCENCE (206 pp.)—Francois Mouriac—Farrar, Straus & Young ($3).

Francois Mauriac's specialty consists in creating a handful of morally diseased characters and dragging them through a couple of hundred pages reeking of sin and sensuality. The French, including many devout Roman Catholics, have an unpleasant word to describe the distinguished Catholic author's novels. It is malsain—unhealthy. In The Mask of Innocence, a thoroughly unpleasant novel about thoroughly unpleasant people, Nobel Prizewinner Mauriac sets out to illustrate the doctrine that even moral leprosy can be cured by divine grace.

Gabriel Gradėre has...

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