Books: Grey Humor

THE DO-GOODERS by Alfred Grossman. 229 pages. Doubleday. $4.95.

Nowhere is the literature of the put-on so prevalent as in the area of grey humor, the pale imitation of black humor. Kookiness serves for characterization, and unrelated zany episodes for story. The Do-Gooders exemplifies this genre, along with A Bad Man by Stanley Elkin and A Fine Madness by Elliott Baker. Manhattan-born Alfred Gross man, 41, who has written three other novels in the same vein, has been praised for his facility with a special, caviar kind of black humor that only the hip can hope to fully understand. Actually, The Do-Gooders...

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