Hmmmm. Wildly imaginative throughout, but quite predictable in parts. It reminded me of Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman.
I love that Chapter 5 is called "The Feast of Fear."
Here are some of my favorite quotations from the book:
It is always the humble man who talks too much; the proud man watches himself too closely.
He defended respectability with violence and exaggeration. He grew passionate in his praise of tidiness and propriety.
"And now, in the name of Colney Hatch, what is it?" [I had to look this up--Colney Hatch was a mental institution.]
"I would break twenty oaths of secrecy for the pleasure of taking you down a peg."
"But whenever he gives advice it is always something as startling as an epigram, and yet as practical as the Bank of England."
"I preached blood and murder to those women day and night, and--by God!--they would let me wheel their perambulators."
There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematicians that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one. That is why, in spite of a hundred disadvantages, the world will always return to monogamy.
"After all," he said to himself, "I am more than a devil; I am a man. I can do the one thing which Satan himself cannot do—I can die."
"We are not buffoons, but very desperate men at war with a vast conspiracy."
"You've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn't; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all."
"I had no idea that the anarchists had so much discipline."
"Four out of the five rich men in this town," he said, "are common swindlers. I suppose the proportion is pretty equal all over the world."
"My God!" said the Colonel, "someone has shot at us."
"It need not interrupt conversation," said the gloomy Ratcliffe. "Pray resume your remarks, Colonel."
"I can only wallow in the exquisite comfort of my own exactitude."
"I don't think, and I never shall think, that the mass of ordinary men are a pack of dirty modern thinkers."
"When duty and religion are really destroyed, it will be by the rich."
"What are we going to do?" asked the Professor.
"At this moment," said Syme, with a scientific detachment, "I think we are going to smash into a lamppost."
"Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity."
"Shall I tell you the secret of the whole world? It is that we have only known the back of the world. We see everything from behind, and it looks brutal. That is not a tree, but the back of a tree. That is not a cloud, but the back of a cloud. Cannot you see that everything is stooping and hiding a face? If we could only get round in front--"
"The only crime of the Government is that it governs."