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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: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,936981,305 (3.83)159
20th century (83) allegory (45) anarchism (48) anarchists (38) anarchy (59) British (85) British literature (55) Chesterton (50) Christianity (31) classic (66) classics (69) crime (30) ebook (35) England (42) English literature (48) fantasy (117) fiction (626) G. K. Chesterton (27) Kindle (34) literature (97) London (31) mystery (224) novel (126) philosophy (27) read (54) religion (44) spy (30) thriller (46) to-read (87) unread (32)
  1. 20
    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)
  2. 20
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (flissp)
  3. 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.
  4. 10
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov (shelfoflisa)
  5. 00
    The Chronicles of Amber, Volume I (Nine Princes in Amber and The Guns of Avalon) by Roger Zelazny (mulrah)
    mulrah: The twists and turns sometimes fall flat, but the ride is wild in both cases as the protagonist slowly comes to terms with a new "reality." Buckle up.
  6. 00
    Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (ben_a)
  7. 12
    Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (sirparsifal)
  8. 03
    CliffsNotes on Joyce's Ulysses by Edward A. Kopper (sirparsifal)
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» See also 159 mentions

English (89)  Spanish (4)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 89 (next | show all)
At once lapidary, rich with ideas and a farcical romp. ( )
  dazzyj | Jun 18, 2014 |
Both policemen and anarchists go undercover as anarchists. If there were a central message, it escaped me, but the novel contains many entaining parts. ( )
  ohernaes | May 28, 2014 |
I really enjoyed reading this startling, at times riotously funny, often gorgeously written book. The ending perplexed me, however, and that's why I ultimately dropped my rating to 4 stars. I wouldn't recommend this as anyone's first foray into Chesterton, but if you've enjoyed Orthodoxy, this is likely a good place to start with his fiction. He's a marvelous writer. ( )
  LudieGrace | Dec 4, 2013 |
The first half of this book is amazing, wonderful and very tightly conceived but I think it loses itself a little in the second half, when they go after Sunday. It is still memorable, though, and scenes have stayed with me. The ending is odd, as I was warned, but not uncharacteristic and I think it leaves a lovely taste in the mouth. ( )
  femme_letale | Oct 6, 2013 |
Allegories aren't my favorite kind of stories, but this one really stands out. ( )
  stacy_chambers | Aug 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 89 (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 (60 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
G. K. Chestertonprimary 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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Epigraph
Dedication
To Edmund Clerihew Bentley
Edmund C. Bentley
First words
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:12 -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 4 descriptions

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

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141031255, 0141191465, 0141199776

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