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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
4,4341131,105 (3.81)171
  1. 20
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (flissp)
  2. 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)
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    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.
  4. 10
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (shelfoflisa)
  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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» See also 171 mentions

English (103)  Spanish (4)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
I don't know why this book is listed as crime. There is no actual crime involved. Just a lot of hysterical policemen running around trying to arrest each other when they are all undercover. If you want to read this book start by expecting Alice in wonderland. It make about as much sense. It even references Alice a few times. It then devolves even further to some sort of religious allegory that even the author says he was pulling out if a hat. ( last couple of pages on the penguin edition I read ) In short, if you want a story that has no logic, reason or intelligent characters but is heavy on religious symbolism this is the one for you. Personally it just made my brain itch. And not in a good way. ( )
  SashaM | Apr 20, 2016 |
This is an allegorical novel that on the surface is about a group of anarchists, but questions many other things along the way. Being a nightmare, it has nightmarish qualities throughout, and the descriptions of scenery, weather and people reflect this. Had I liked this better, I’d reread it to really dig into more of that, and if this is your sort of novel it is worth reading more than once.
This novel is an allegory dressed as a nightmare, and the only thing that saved it from being a total nightmare or a read for me were some of the amazingly brilliant lines and prose. Had I not realized it was written as a nightmare, I’d have never made it through during this second attempt at reading this novel. I realize it has many fans. This review is based purely as my take on it as a literary novel, and not on any theological underpinnings or references to the book of Job, since discussing Chesterton’s theology is fodder for an entirely different kind of forum
( )
  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (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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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 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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14 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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