Books: The Hero as Saint

THE WHITE STONE (271 pp.)—Carlo Coccioli—Simon & Schuster ($4.50).

Night is one way of defining day. Steeped in opposites, paradoxes and negations, modern religious fiction tends to define godliness in the same way. In the novels of Kafka, Mauriac and Graham Greene, the hero is conscious not of the presence but the absence of God, not of the nearness but the distance of divine grace, not of the order but the absurdity of God's universe. Obsessively self-abased, the religious hero is a man of little faith, and his heroism is to know it.

Such a...

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