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The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
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The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)

by G. K. Chesterton

Other authors: Martin Gardner (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,3891111,120 (3.81)170
  1. 20
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    The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (rockhopper_penguin)
    rockhopper_penguin: I read 'The Secret Adversary' just after reading 'The Man Who Was Thursday'. At the time, 'The Secret Adversary' seemed like the book you *thought* you were getting for quite a lot of 'The Man Who Was Thursday'. Clever, and a good mystery, but not as good (or weird) as 'The Man Who Was Thursday'.… (more)
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  4. 10
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  5. 10
    The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G. K. Chesterton (kkunker)
    kkunker: These books have a similar fast paced wild feel to them. I read "Napoleon" while in London, which just made the book seem so much more alive. Both very good books by Chesterton.
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Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
I like Chesterton, generally, but I wasn't sure what to make of this one. Definitely interesting and worth reading. There were some parts that were totally predictable, and others that weren't. There were also some parts that made me wonder what kind of drugs he was on. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
Chesterton is best known for the Fr. Brown mysteries. This is a very different stand-alone allegorical mystery featuring poet-detective Gabriel Syme and a circle of anarchists bent on destroying the world.

There are some interesting philosophical / theological arguments between characters, but the work is dated. It was first published in 1908, and it shows its age. There were parts that reminded me of the McCarthyism communist “witch hunts” of the 1950s-1960s.

QUOTE: “The work of the philosophical policeman,” replied the man in blue, “is at once bolder and more subtle than that of the ordinary detective. The ordinary detective goes to pot-houses and arrest thieves; we go to artistic tea-parties to detect pessimists. The ordinary detective discovers from a ledger or diary that a crime has been committed. We discover from a book of sonnets that a crime will be committed. We have to trace the origin of those dreadful thoughts that drive men on at last to intellectual fanaticism and intellectual crime.”
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Disturbing, hilarious, moving. I'll never be able to hear the word "spectacles" again without giggling.

I highly recommend the Librivox audio book, read by Zachary Brewster-Geisz:

http://www.archive.org/details/man_thursday_zach_librivox ( )
  TheEditrix | Jan 13, 2016 |
I finished this book on Thursday September 26, 2013. Coincidence? Fortuitous? Ironic? Or just plain irrelevant?

I went into this book without any inkling of what it is about . All I know is that it is by [a:G.K. Chesterton|7014283|G.K. Chesterton|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1365860649p2/7014283.jpg], the author of Father Brown the priestly super sleuth. The main reason I decided to read it is that the free Librivox audiobook version comes highly recommended. Librivox audiobooks are all free but the quality is variable, if you want to find which titles are the good ones Google is your friend.

From the title alone I assumed that it is 19th century sci-fi or fantasy novel, something akin to [a:H.G. Wells|880695|H.G. Wells|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1201281795p2/880695.jpg]’ books may be. The title The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare has a time travelly, timey wimey ring to it, but it is nothing of the kind. The timeline is completely linear and there ia only a single narrative strand. If this sounds like a breeze I have to tell you I am still scratching my head as I write (though I am having a bad hair day today).

On the face of it it is a fairly straight forward story of one Gabriel Syme a poet turned policeman who infiltrates a major anarchist group bent on destruction of law and order. Syme uses in oratory skills to join Central Anarchist Council, whose seven members are named after days of the week. The head of the Council is called Sunday, Syme is the eponymous Thursday, replacing a recently diseased council member. During his first meeting with the Council he learns of a plot to assassinate the President of the French Republic in Paris by bombing, he then makes every effort to foil this plot.

Initially I thought I was in for some fun 19th century James Bondery; such is not the case. Practically all the characters in this book are not what they seem. Syme is not what he seems, he is a poet/cop disguised as an anarchist, the members of the council are not what they seem, even the villain of the piece Sunday is not what he seems. In fact the novel in its entirety is not what it seems! It is however very readable with some lovely prose and wonderful word play. Passages like this make it all worthwhile: His respectability was spontaneous and sudden, a rebellion against rebellion. He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else. His father cultivated art and self-realisation; his mother went in for simplicity and hygiene. The plot moves along at a fair clip, like a turbo charged hansom cab. The novel ends on a philosophical note which I have not quite figured out yet (ask me next week). The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare is not so much a nightmare as a weird trip with a sudden WTF ending.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Zachary Brewster-Geisz for his excellent dramatic professional standard narration of this free audiobook and his kindness in sharing it with the world. What a guy! ( )
  apatt | Dec 26, 2015 |
Chesterton's 1908 tale is a part thriller, part morality tale, and part farce in equal measure. It is a solidly entertaining and clever work, and merits wide reading.

Full review here: https://bibliomaneblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/the-man-who-was-thursday-by-g-k-chesterton-a-review/ ( )
  Bill_Bibliomane | Nov 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
The novel increasingly revels in the disorder of dreams. Chesterton's great achievement is to imbue the everyday world with wonder; everything becomes exotic and fantastical. His portrayal of London in particular is an enchanting evocation of the modern metropolis – the city is rendered as a psychedelic wonderland, as both an ocean and a mountain range, as both the depths of hell and the unexplored surface of a foreign planet.
 

» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
G. K. Chestertonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gardner, MartinEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, KingsleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Covell, WalterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keith, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lethem, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muniz, Alicia BleibergTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorn, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Edmund C. Bentley
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The suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged as a cloud of sunset.
Quotations
"can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375757910, Paperback)

In an article published the day before his death, G.K. Chesterton called The Man Who Was Thursday "a very melodramatic sort of moonshine." Set in a phantasmagoric London where policemen are poets and anarchists camouflage themselves as, well, anarchists, his 1907 novel offers up one highly colored enigma after another. If that weren't enough, the author also throws in an elephant chase and a hot-air-balloon pursuit in which the pursuers suffer from "the persistent refusal of the balloon to follow the roads, and the still more persistent refusal of the cabmen to follow the balloon."

But Chesterton is also concerned with more serious questions of honor and truth (and less serious ones, perhaps, of duels and dualism). Our hero is Gabriel Syme, a policeman who cannot reveal that his fellow poet Lucian Gregory is an anarchist. In Chesterton's agile, antic hands, Syme is the virtual embodiment of paradox:

He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else. His father cultivated art and self-realization; his mother went in for simplicity and hygiene. Hence the child, during his tenderer years, was wholly unacquainted with any drink between the extremes of absinthe and cocoa, of both of which he had a healthy dislike.... Being surrounded with every conceivable kind of revolt from infancy, Gabriel had to revolt into something, so he revolted into the only thing left--sanity.
Elected undercover into the Central European Council of anarchists, Syme must avoid discovery and save the world from any bombings in the offing. As Thursday (each anarchist takes the name of a weekday--the only quotidian thing about this fantasia) does his best to undo his new colleagues, the masks multiply. The question then becomes: Do they reveal or conceal? And who, not to mention what, can be believed? As The Man Who Was Thursday proceeds, it becomes a hilarious numbers game with a more serious undertone--what happens if most members of the council actually turn out to be on the side of right? Chesterton's tour de force is a thriller that is best read slowly, so as to savor his highly anarchic take on anarchy. --Kerry Fried

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:02 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Chesterton's masterpiece is a surreal, psychologically thrilling novel which centres on seven anarchists in turn of the century London who call themselves by the names of days of the week.

» see all 5 descriptions

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13 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141031255, 0141191465, 0141199776

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