Laura's Reviews > The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
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's review
Jun 13, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: books-for-a-lifetime
Read in June, 2008

The question "What is your favorite book?" has always been impossible for me to answer, but this is the only book I have ever felt comfortable defaulting to. I've read it at least a half a dozen times since I discovered a copy of it in a used bookstore when I was in middle school; I will probably reread it a dozen more in the next ten years. I get something different out of it every time I reread it.

The story itself makes no sense, until you come back to the subtitle: A Nightmare. Like a dream, or a nightmare, there is a thread of sense beneath the nonsense, and the mad escapades of the Supreme Anarchist Council are some how more deeply real even in their absurdity. One could call the story a parable, or a fable, but like the costumes worn by the protagonists toward the end of the book, the disguised elements of the story serve only to reveal more of its inner truth.

This book is full of great quotes and is one of the finer examples of Chesterton's witty and unique style of storytelling. Like quite a lot of his fiction, it is a story with Christian meaning woven into it; it's not necessary to be a practicing Christian to understand or get something out of the story, but some of the allegory may escape a reader who is unfamiliar with the basics of the book of Genesis.

When I finish this book I always feel a little bit bewildered, sort of mentally out of breath. I usually end up reading it in one or two sittings, propelled irresistably toward the fantastic (in the original sense of the word) conclusion.

This book defies genre, plot summary, and most attempts at interpretation, so all I can say is that you should read it for yourself, and see what you make of it.
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Don Incognito Nice to see that I'm not the only one who can't really say what his favorite book is without defaulting to something.

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