Books: Cheese!

THE VERTICAL SMILE by Richard Condon. 334 pages. Dial. $6.95.

Richard Condon strikes a chord of universality at the very beginning of his new novel. Given enough time, and allowing for certain obvious exceptions—Moby-Dick and the Hardy Boys' Hunting for Hidden Gold come to mind—almost every novel since the invention of movable type could have been called, with poetry and justice, The Vertical Smile. The imagination turns jelly-kneed: War and Vertical Smiles, Remembrance of Smiles Vertical, The Sun Also Smiles Vertically. Condon thought up the title first, however, and he picks up the marbles. No one will ever slip a better description...

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