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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (1908)

by G. K. Chesterton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,3961621,288 (3.78)228
Perhaps best-known for his "Father Brown" detective series, G. K. Chesterton was renowned for his wit, rhetorical brilliance, and talent for ingenious paradox. Those qualities fill this funny, fast-paced novel about a club of anarchists in turn-of-the-20th-century London. Ostensibly a story of mystery and espionage, it's also functions as a vehicle for social, religious, and philosophical commentary.… (more)
  1. 30
    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
    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.
  3. 20
    The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (shelfoflisa)
  4. 31
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (flissp)
  5. 10
    The Magus by John Fowles (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Secret societies whose aims you are made to reassess.
  6. 10
    Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (ben_a)
  7. 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.
  8. 00
    Many Dimensions by Charles Williams (anjenue)
    anjenue: another metaphysical thriller with madcap elements
  9. 00
    The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (KayCliff)
  10. 00
    The Deadly Percheron by John Franklin Bardin (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  11. 00
    The Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Concerning a mysterious and allegorical secret society
  12. 22
    Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (sirparsifal)
  13. 03
    CliffsNotes on Joyce's Ulysses by Edward A. Kopper (sirparsifal)

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» See also 228 mentions

English (140)  Spanish (7)  Catalan (4)  Portuguese (2)  Czech (1)  Danish (1)  French (1)  German (1)  Slovak (1)  All languages (158)
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)
This is my second attempt at G.K. Chesterton and he is not for me. It was something close to torture for me to read this, but it was short enough that I hung in to the finish. This is an allegory based around a mysterious anarchical committee, the governing body of a group of anarchists. Syme is sent by Scotland Yard to infiltrate the group and he does so by meeting an anarchist at a party, the poet Gregory, who takes him to a meeting.

It is impossible to explore the plot any further without giving away the entire premise of the book, and it is even more difficult to discuss the allegorical meanings without doing so. Beyond that, I really did not find this enlightening or interesting enough to want to.

It is my understanding that this is considered a classic psychological mystery by many important scholars. They apparently find something in it that awes them, but it did not affect me in that way. I could see much of what Chesterton was attempting, but I felt I was required to suffer to get to it and sadly found it not worth the effort.

2-stars and no more Chesterton for me.
( )
  mattorsara | Aug 11, 2022 |
Tras una primera sorpresa inicial el relato se vuelve previsible; sino en cuanto al desarrollo de la trama, sí en lo referente a la identidad de los personajes. Paródico, con escenas de sainete o de opereta, al final deviene en alegoría. Casi una epifanía apocalíptica. Lo mejor: algunas situaciones absurdas, el desparpajo en los desenlaces, el punzante humor, la reflexión filosófica,… Una novela desconcertante. ( )
  GilgameshUruk | Jul 17, 2022 |
Hhmm.. A 1908 novel of cops vs anarchists. This is one I think I'll actually reread if I can find a copy cheap enuf. The diabolical plot has undercover agents infiltrating an anarchist group only to find out that all members but one are also undercover cops. Sounds like the Stazi in East Berlin! ( )
  tENTATIVELY | Apr 3, 2022 |
Empiezas una página y te lo devoras en un par de horas, intriga hasta el final. Altamente recomendado. ( )
  Ella_Zegarra | Jan 18, 2022 |
I don't like allegorical literature, I don't like murder and detective stories, nor absurdist stories. This book is all these in one, so this clearly wasn't my thing. Of course, there’s much to laugh about, because Chesterton has turned this ‘nightmare’ into a hilarious satire. And certain action scenes are darn well written and keep you captivated, like a real roller coaster. But this is about it: the story has too many unbelievable twists, too many slapstick elements, and regularly turns into a real grotesque. What struck me the most is how ostentatious Chesterton has inserted spiritual references into the text and story. In the few Father Brown stories I had read of his, this was still palatable, but in this novel all subtlety has disappeared; therefore, the comparison with 'Alice in Wonderland', which is often made, is absolutely unjustified. What is interesting about this book is of course that Chesterton has taken a group of (alleged) anarchists as main characters. In his days, early 20th century, they were 'hot', as the feared terrorists of that period (who successfully carried out numerous of bloody attacks on heads of state and government). I wonder to what extent this book by Chesterton was not in part an elaborate parody of Joseph Conrad's book, 'The Secret Agent', which appeared a year earlier, and which also poked fun at the anarchists, but in a much more serious way. I'm definitely going to give Chesterton another chance, but then it really has to be better than this book. ( )
  bookomaniac | Nov 12, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 140 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chesterton, G. K.Authorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Amis, KingsleyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beaumont, MatthewEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carter, LinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Covell, WalterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallardo, GervasioCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, MartinEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gentleman, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keith, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lethem, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Muniz, Alicia BleibergTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reyes, AlfonsoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Romberg, HansCover designersecondary 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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Perhaps best-known for his "Father Brown" detective series, G. K. Chesterton was renowned for his wit, rhetorical brilliance, and talent for ingenious paradox. Those qualities fill this funny, fast-paced novel about a club of anarchists in turn-of-the-20th-century London. Ostensibly a story of mystery and espionage, it's also functions as a vehicle for social, religious, and philosophical commentary.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141031255, 0141191465, 0141199776


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