Entertaining Strangers

by A. R. Gurney, Jr.Doubleday, $7.95. The premise of this ironic comedy about the humanities faculty of an ineffectually camouflaged MIT remains preposterous even if it really happened—and it may have. But once the stray Englishman is hired, he precipitates a splendid confusion of academic incompetence, backbiting, and treachery. The frosting on this cyanide cupcake is the narrator, who presents himself as an abused innocent while revealing himself as a useless boob.