Books: The Surprise of Spiritual Slapstick

MONSIGNOR QUIXOTE by Graham Greene; Simon & Schuster; 221 pages; $12.95

The tone is ominous, the guilt pervasive. Prayers are uttered under gray, indifferent skies. No one is quite certain where the atmosphere ends and the characters begin. The place is Greeneland, scene of some 40 books and movies. By now readers should be weary of its squalor and despair. Instead, each year brings more visitors. The reason is Graham Greene's ability to remain, at 78, one of the world's most unpredictable artists. From comedies like May We Borrow Your Husband? to the sheer lunacy of Travels with My Aunt,...

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