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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.…

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (original 1908; edition 2008)

by G. K. Chesterton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,1771311,262 (3.8)213
Title:The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare
Authors:G. K. Chesterton
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2008), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

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

  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. 10
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (shelfoflisa)
  3. 10
    The Magus by John Fowles (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Secret societies whose aims you are made to reassess.
  4. 10
    The Chronicles of Amber, Volume I: Nine Princes in Amber, 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.
  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 213 mentions

English (120)  Spanish (4)  Portuguese (2)  Czech (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (131)
Showing 1-5 of 120 (next | show all)
A brilliant book? ( )
  Fiddleback_ | Dec 17, 2018 |
The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton ( )
  valentinbru | Oct 2, 2018 |
At first I thought I was reading a fun thriller/mystery about an undercover detective hunting anarchists.

Then I realized that I was reading a comic satirical take on thrillers, politics, and the police. The gradual unmasking of the conspirators was hilarious.

But soon I found myself in a boys own adventure, with a band of honorable and plucky chums taking on a conspiracy of bad guys, who aimed to take down England's noble institutions. Duels, cross country chases on elephants, and lots of brotherly bonding dominated this section.

For a change of pace, the ending switched into a fantasy dreamscape, which ended in a dramatic Hindu/Christian religious allegory scene, complete with thrones, Jesus/Shiva figures, the devil, and lots of masked people (?) performing arcane rituals. I'm not sure what the message was. Something about that if we want to save the world from anarchy, we have to become as strong and committed as anarchists.

Or something like that. I quite enjoyed it, despite having no idea what it was about. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
At first, I was a little unsure of what I was reading. I'd missed the subtitle 'A Nightmare'. But in a short time the tone of the book, and its brilliant humour become, more clear. In the moment comes the delight. The recruitment of those who become what they think they're supposed to oppose, in order to stop it, only to discover they all share in that task, that none of them are who they thought, and that even the real opponent is not who they assumed; the impossibility of appearances at telling the truth, and our own personal vulnerability at seeing what is true; the experience of being pursued as something you are, or might not be, when the truth of a situation is lost to opinions and perspectives and conjecture: all these are the foundation of the nightmare.

There is a role we're to play in the world: what if someone confused and scuttled it, or rendered the task impossible to really discern? What if reality and God Himself were somehow disguised beyond our description, and we had no bearings among our peers left? A clever depiction, perhaps, of the horror the secular world has brought.

Some spectacular quotes lie within for whomever is willing to see the truth ;-p ( )
2 vote PastorBob | Sep 5, 2018 |
Fascinating tale ( )
  cbinstead | Aug 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 120 (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 (52 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chesterton, G. K.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gardner, MartinEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, KingsleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Covell, WalterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallardo, GervasioCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gentleman, DavidCover artistsecondary 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.
"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)

In a park in London, secret policeman Gabriel Syme strikes up a conversation with an anarchist. Sworn to do his duty, Syme uses his new acquaintance to go undercover in Europe's Central Anarchist Council and infiltrate their deadly mission, even managing to have himself voted to the position of 'Thursday'. When Syme discovers another undercover policeman on the Council, however, he starts to question his role in their operations. And as a desperate chase across Europe begins, his confusion grows, as well as his confidence in his ability to outwit his enemies. But he has still to face the greatest terror that the Council has: a man named Sunday, whose true nature is worse than Syme could ever have imagined..… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141031255, 0141191465, 0141199776

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