Picks and Pans Review: Graham Greene Country

updated 03/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/16/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Paul Hogarth

Many of Graham Greene's novels are classics. They have earned that niche because certain scenes, moods or events penned by Greene are lodged in the psyches of enough readers so that the mere mention of The Third Man or Our Man in Havana brings instant images into place. Now, illustrator Paul Hogarth has traveled 50,000 miles to more than 20 countries, as Greene himself says in his foreword, "like a detective after a criminal." The result is a book of watercolor sketches that for the most part evoke Greene's fictional settings perfectly. The Palace Pier in England is a fantastic, onion-domed confection right out of Brighton Rock. The Grijalva River in Mexico is the color of pea soup in a painting that illustrates a landscape from The Power and the Glory. The wall of the cemetery where Catholic prisoners were shot in that novel is backlit by an orange sun. A cathedral in Saigon, described as "hideous pink" by Greene in The Quiet American, has a flock of tiny cyclists in front. All the drawings are accompanied by notes from a diary that the artist kept while working on this unusual project. There are also descriptive passages from Greene's novels and a few contemporary comments from the writer. These reveal much about how a novelist turns reality into far-more-vivid fiction. (Viking, $35)

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