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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A powerful picture of the loneliness and bewilderment which each of us encounters in his single-handed struggle with the universe."
--C. S. Lewis --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
While G.K. Chesterton will not be every ones cup of tea, I adore his writing. The style is thought provoking, not at all a page turning thriller, but rather a different glimpse... Read morePublished 4 days ago by carol kendig
While it's a quick read, it doesn't have to be. Chesterson packs his sentences full of adjectives and less frequently used verbs. I often found myself on dictionary. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Alexis H
This book is not as hard to explain as some people make it out to be. The phrase that summarizes this book is simply 'mind screw'. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James B.
Not for the reader who likes modern writers. It is a imaginative tale about anarchist and I do mean imaginative. Nothing seems real. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
Great book. Amazing. Fast paced with great insights. It is so interestong it puts your mind to work. G.K. Is a genius. I want to read more.Published 2 months ago by Agustin
A little too long.just when you,'ve had enough,something exciting comes along! Quite entertaining .a good read,all in all glad I went along for the adventure.Published 2 months ago by paulette gallese
Not something you can read while you are lightly distracted by television or radio in the background, but it's an interesting book of a type that I just don't find very often in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jon B