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Le Nommé Jeudi: Un cauchemar by Gilbert…

Le Nommé Jeudi: Un cauchemar (original 1908; edition 2002)

by Gilbert Keith Chesterton, Pierre Klossowski (Préface), Jean Florence (Traduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,6811171,011 (3.81)187
Title:Le Nommé Jeudi: Un cauchemar
Authors:Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Other authors:Pierre Klossowski (Préface), Jean Florence (Traduction)
Info:Gallimard (2002), Poche, 294 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton (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 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.
  4. 21
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: A Novel by Susanna Clarke (flissp)
  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.
  6. 00
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» See also 187 mentions

English (107)  Spanish (4)  Czech (1)  Portuguese (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All (117)
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
Yes, the plot is predictable. But the scenes near the end are so dramatic and dream-like that I feel Sunday could easily slip into The Master and Margarita. Well worth reading for the imagery.
  seabear | Dec 24, 2016 |
highly amusing & thot provoking ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
The author's vivid descriptions of scenery and settings, as well as certain philosophy, make for memorable reading.

The plot moves along with intriguing mystery and excitement, then becomes redundant and thoroughly improbable, but worse, boring. ( )
1 vote m.belljackson | Oct 4, 2016 |
A clever reader will figure out this shaggy dog tale by the second reveal (of six), but it's still fun to see how Chesterton lines everything up. ( )
  lizzieross | Aug 18, 2016 |
A compelling short read written with plenty of wit, G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday takes the ever-popular detective genre and turns it into, as the book's subtitle suggests, a surrealist nightmare", like a cross between the Sherlock Holmes books and Alice in Wonderland. The writer Kingsley Amis praised Thursday for its "brilliantly original blending of relatively straightforward cloak-and-dagger elements with the metaphysical", and this indeed does accurately describe the book. I found the mystery to be particularly good; we turn the page wanting – needing – to know what happens next. What is this conspiracy? Who is part of it and who is not? Who or what is "Sunday"? Chesterton clearly relishes the absurdity of the genre and the surreal licence it affords him; for example, when devising a new secret code based on sign language, the character Gabriel Syme insists – positively insists – on developing codes for his favourite words: 'coeval' and 'lush' (pg. 86). There's a lot of – quite literally – cloak-and-dagger stuff: meetings in dark alleys, following sinister marks down moonlit streets, nervous spies fingering the loaded revolvers hidden in their coat pockets. It's all ripping stuff. And gripping.

However, as Robert Giddings notes in the Afterword to my Atlantic Crime Classics edition, "beneath the voluble fizz" – such a great phrase – "there's a seriousness in Chesterton's thought and vision." (pg. 177). And this, sadly, is where The Man Who Was Thursday falters a bit. You see, Chesterton – who, without fail, is always described in any piece of writing as the "Christian apologist" – has an underlying theological current running throughout the novel. The seven members of the anarchist council, including codename "Thursday" and the mysterious "Sunday", are based on the seven days in which God purportedly made the earth. Particularly towards the end, where Chesterton's theological musings become a bit more explicit, we are confronted with such convoluted reasonings and ideas that, whilst probably convincing to a turn-of-the-century Catholic, seem rather strange nowadays where religion is either absent from discussions amongst people of "reason" or has become dumbed-down by fundamentalists. This stuff is never obstructive for those wanting to engage with the book, and we never get bogged down in a theological swamp, but it does take some of the gloss of an otherwise well-conditioned story.

Because, above all, it is a very good read. Chesterton's prose is very well-written (the final paragraph is particularly evocative) and extremely quotable. The Catholic theology stuff which only comes to a head at the end of the novel means one can only engage with the book's themes after one has read it, not whilst reading it, but you won't care. Because by that time you've just read an amiable and yet gripping, breezy and yet deep, witty and yet weird, little book." ( )
1 vote MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (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 editionscalculated
Gardner, MartinEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, KingsleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Covell, WalterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallardo, GervasioCover 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)

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.

(summary from another edition)

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3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141031255, 0141191465, 0141199776

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