Books: Guided Tour of Greeneland

THE COMEDIANS by Graham Greene. 309 pages. Viking. $5.75.

Their names are Brown, Smith and Jones. As the story begins, Brown, the narrator of this new Graham Greene novel, wonders whether names so common as to imply insignificance must not together hint of some bad joke. Could wild chance have united the three on a freighter bound for Haiti and in the improbable events that follow? The answer is no, and it comes from Greene. His contriving hand is visible throughout, alerting and perhaps warning the reader that there is nothing in it to support, or even to deserve, belief.

Familiar Scenery. Greene's...