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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  26,750 ratings  ·  2,697 reviews
G. K. Chesterton's surreal masterpiece is a psychological thriller that centers on seven anarchists in turn-of-the-century London who call themselves by the names of the days of the week. Chesterton explores the meanings of their disguised identities in what is a fascinating mystery and, ultimately, a spellbinding allegory.

As Jonathan Lethem remarks in his Introduction, Th
Paperback, 182 pages
Published October 9th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1908)
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Margaret It's definitely deeper. At it's heart of hearts it answers the question "Why does God allow suffering?" set against the backdrop of martyrs for their…moreIt's definitely deeper. At it's heart of hearts it answers the question "Why does God allow suffering?" set against the backdrop of martyrs for their cause, heroic virtues in the face of absolute terror and a grand chase where nothing is ever as it seems. (less)
Pedro Soares It seems a lot like Chesterton has lost his way in the ending. Maybe there was too much information and wonder even for his imaginative mind to bear.…moreIt seems a lot like Chesterton has lost his way in the ending. Maybe there was too much information and wonder even for his imaginative mind to bear. (less)

Community Reviews

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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  26,750 ratings  ·  2,697 reviews

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Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I lost my backpack thanks to this book.

It was years and years ago, probably my first winter in Japan, and I'd picked up this book at Maruzen. I had heard about Chesterton, mainly from the dedication page of Pratchett and Gamian's Good Omens ("The authors would like to join the demon Crowley in dedicating this book to the memory of G.K. Chesterton. A man who knew what was going on.") and the title looked weird enough to be entertaining. So, I was reading the book on the train, as I often do, and
°°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο   Αμ
"Η Βίβλος διδάσκει να αγαπάμε τον πλησίον μας. Να αγαπάμε και τον εχθρό μας. Πιθανότατα επειδή πρόκειται για τα ίδια άτομα".
G. K. Chesterton.

"Ο άνθρωπος που τον έλεγαν Πέμπτη",είναι μια παραβολή αποδόμησης της πραγματικότητας.

Μια ιστορία μυθοπλασίας με καυστική ειρωνεία,
χιούμορ,έντονους κοινωνικούς σχολιασμούς
και ευφυέστατη κριτική αφηρημένων ιδεών και εννοιών.

Παράλληλα, το φανταστικό πλαίσιο εξέλιξης,η αγωνιώδης πλοκή,οι συνεχείς ανατροπές,οι μεταφυσικές αναζητήσεις και οι γέφυρες ανάμεσα σ
Paul Bryant
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
They say that LSD was first synthesisterised in 1938, so it couldn't be that. But opium was imbibed in British society as we know from Thomas de Quincy up to Sherlock Holmes, so I'm going with opium.

This strange novel is a phantasmagoria which begins as a surrealistic spoof of Boy's-Own detective adventures in which our hero infiltrates the central council of the evil anarchists who are bent on destroying human society. Gathering more absurd elements (elephant chases through central London, medi
Dan Schwent
Oct 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
The Man Who Was Thursday reads like P.G. Wodehouse writing from a Phillip K. Dick plot while on a Nyquil bender. It begins with two poets arguing in the park about whether poetry is more akin to law or anarchy. It turns out that the poet espousing anarchy is actually a member of an anarchist soceity and takes Syme, the other poet, to their meeting place to prove it after a vow of secrecy. Syme is actually a member of an anti-anarchy branch of Scotland Yard and usurps Gregory's spot as the new Th ...more
Sep 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Humanity crushed once again’. ‘50 dead, 120 injured’. ‘Grave face of terror strikes again’. Familiar headlines scream through the pages of the newspapers each time a bomb goes off annihilating blameless lives. Through teeth gritting resilience, public outcry resonates through the deafened ears of failed intelligence and faith in the state’s law and order hangs by a thin string. As the weeks pass by rapid sketches of the alleged bombers, email links, forensic reports, collected evidence from the ...more
May 06, 2015 rated it it was ok

What the hell did I just read?

Anarchists and poets. That part was deliciously, rebelliously fun to read. No doubt this is a novel idea and Chesterton’s imagination is superb. The first 30-40 pages were awesome and I thought this could be my next 5 star rating. As I began to read this book enthralled; I found myself smiling frequently, laughing often, and being thoroughly impressed.

Then I found myself lost in an absurdist, magical realism murky realm of steam punk whatthehell???

And then the
A sure fire cure for writer’s block.

Now, my opium-toking friend, you are on the road to writing a classic, time-tested piece of literature that’ll influence writers for decades to come.

It’s difficult to give any sort of concrete plot synopsis without major spoilers, but, Gabriel Syme, a police detective recruited by odd means into an anti-terrorist squad, infiltrates a band of seven anarchists all named after the days of the week. Sunday is the leader; Mr. Syme is now Thursday.

Wacky surreal nihi
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
A buddy reads with my friends Carmen, Jeff, and Ginger - if she ever decides to join.

The true rating is 2.5 stars.

The plot is impossible to describe. All readers agree that this is a psychological thriller. This is the only point commonly agreed on. In any case the books starts with two poets arguing whether poetry should serve the law or anarchy - in other words, a typical first world problem.
first world problem
Very quickly we move onto international conspiracy and after this all the way into bizarre and way bey
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Kafka, Lewis, Camus, Borges
Recommended to Carmen by: Non-Crunchy
Through all this ordeal his root horror had been isolation, and 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. 45%

Okay, a lot of what I have to say about this book will be spoilers. I am going to hide the spoilers.

First, let's examine what I can say with
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eliasdgian by: Paradoxe
Ο Γκάμπριελ Σάιμ, μυστικός αστυνομικός, αποκρύπτοντας την αληθινή του ταυτότητα, εκλέγεται μέλος του Ευρωπαϊκού Κεντρικού Συμβουλίου των Αναρχικών. Ο Σάιμ γίνεται ένα από τα επτά μέλη μιας συνωμοτικής κολεκτίβας που έχει θέσει ως στόχο να καταστρέψει τον κόσμο, ανατινάζοντας τον Τσάρο της Ρωσίας και τον Πρόεδρο της Γαλλικής Δημοκρατίας. Πιστοί στους συνωμοτικούς κανόνες οι επτά ‘Αναρχικοί’ αποκαλούνται μεταξύ τους όπως οι ημέρες της εβδομάδας. Ο Σάιμ είναι ο Άνθρωπος που τον έλεγαν Πέμπτη.

Ο Σά
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Boy, this was really good until it wasn't at all anymore. An intriguing story which suddenly turned into some sort of muddled message about patriotism? Capitalism? Christianity? Anarchy? Communism? The soul of all mankind? How redheads are hot and god is fat? Don't know, don't care.

Blah. Skip it.
Loved the language and loved the beginning. It’s like a mad Monty Python story, but it lost me half way through. And to be fair, the Python crew, Terry Pratchett and others may well have been weaned on tales from Chesterton, so perhaps he should get more credit.

The main character, Syme, is a detective who is invited to a secret meeting of anarchists who are preparing to overthrow governments using bombs. He promises Gregory, the man who invited him, not to divulge anything of what he says. Gre
Nikos Tsentemeidis
Τι βιβλίο!

Ιδιοφυΐα ο Chesterton, σαν ένας άλλος Pessoa ή Pirandello
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
The madcap adventures of a mild-mannered Scotland Yard investigator who has stumbled onto an Anarchist plot in Edwardian London, but can't reveal it to anyone. Substitute "terrorist" for "anarchist", substitute "post-Brexit" for "Edwardian" London, and you have the makings of a rollicking good yarn.

And Chesterton delivers!

Being Catholic, he has an acute eye for pure evil - which sobriquet precisely fits this odd and ornery assortment of bad guys. And he expertly holds our attention to the end,
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very original, wonderfully quirky, thought-provoking little book about an English detective who infiltrates a group of anarchists. Part fantasy, part mystery, part philosophical, lots of Christian symbolism that is not apparent until later in the book, but you don't have to be a Christian to enjoy it. There is so much going on here that I will have to reread it at some point.
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthias by: Deux Ex
Shelves: favorites, my-reviews
This book is on my favorite shelf but was missing a review, even though I loved it from the very first time I encountered it.* Time to set things straight.

"The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare" is a unique book, that starts as a spy novel with a very compelling premise of underground anarchists, a mysterious police force and a game of hide-and-seek. Pretty early on there's shimmers of philosophical ramblings that will grow into an overpowering element later in the book. A table in a bar that tu
João Barradas
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O mundo caminha num limbo de paradoxos. De facto, o famigerado dia da semana a que chamamos “quinta-feira” é o quarto, na concepção cristã, à qual Cheterston acabou por se converter. Segundo o “Génesis” da Bíblia, nesse dia, Deus criou os dois luminares que abrilhantam o Universo em expansão – o Sol, o maior, e a Lua, o menor. Numa clara assunção dessa espiritual relação com o poder da luz, em muitos idiomas esse dia é consagrado a deuses do Trovão, como o castelhano “Jueves”, que sorve a raiz e ...more
Jonathan Terrington

The Man Who Was Thursday is my first venture into the writing of G.K. Chesterton having discovered the existence of this writer earlier in the year. Of course the first I heard of him was in reference to his Father Brown stories, one volume of which I have on my to read stack. I then heard that his most recognised book is this one, so naturally I organised to read it.

The Man Who Was Thursday is truly a classic detective tale, yet it is also an allegory. I didn't realise the book was an allegory
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Nueva relectura en lo que va del año. Había leído esta novela hace cuatro años atrás y tenía un vago recuerdo de ella. Sólo sabía que se trataba de anarquistas y del peculiar personaje principal, el poeta Gabriel Syme.
Realmente me resultó gratamente entretenida. Su acción es constante y yo la considero una verdadera novela de aventuras en donde nada es lo que parece y los constantes giros de los acontecimientos hace que el lector esté atento a lo que pueda llegar a venir.
Cada situación desemboca
ياللغرابة!! :)

تناولت هذه الرواية من رف المكتبة وأمسكت بها متكاسلة عن القراءة بسبب تأخر الوقت وكوني قلقة جدا ومصابة بالصداع إلا أنني لا أستطيع النوم... انهيت التعريف بالكاتب ثم بدأت في قراءة الرواية لأفاجأ بأنني لا أستطيع تركها من فرط الإستمتاع :)

لا أعلم لماذا تمثل لي كلا من أنور وجدي وفريد شوقي الرائعين، وهي عادة سخيفة، أنا كثيرا ما أشرد عن الرواية بتخيلها وقد تم تمثيلها وغالبا ما أحن للراحلين الرائعين الذين لا أجد للأفلام الحديثة متعة أفلامهما

كنت أشاهد كارتون سبونج بوب الذي أكرهه مع أطفالي وزوج
Jun 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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,
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
This is my first book by G. K. Chesterton (1874-1036) and I am very much impressed. This is one of the classic books included in the 501 Must-Read Books so I bought it three years ago but I only read this now because a good friend wanted to borrow this book.

This is a story of a undercover detective called Syme who joins Europe's Central Anarchist Council to infiltrate and fight against the growing anarchist movement. The central council members are named after the days of the week so when Syme j
Jason Pettus
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian
”A man’s brain is a bomb,” he cried out, loosening suddenly his strange passion and striking his own skull with violence. “My brain feels like a bomb, night and day. It must expand! It must expand! A man’s brain must expand, if it breaks up the universe.”

 photo e0a5ece4-ff40-49cc-b5ed-bd860cea1a26_zpsm117iexx.png

Gabriel Syme attends a dinner party of his friend, the poet Lucian Gregory. He is there under a pretense of friendship, but his true intention is to find out if his friend can be his entry into joining a group of anarchists. You see, Gabriel Sy
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I finished this book on Thursday September 26, 2013. Coincidence? Fortuitous? Ironic? Or just plain irrelevant?

I went into this book without any inkling of what it is about . All I know is that it is by G.K. Chesterton, the author of Father Brown the priestly super sleuth. The main reason I decided to read it is that the free Librivox audiobook version comes highly recommended. Librivox audiobooks are all free but the quality is variable, if you want to find which titles are the good ones Google
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't rememer the last novel I've read which had such a promising start. I was amazed by this book's introduction. You want to know how awesome I found it? How about the fact I made notes on almost every single page. The characters, Gabriel Syme and Lucian Gregory, blew me away. Their interaction was so interesting I couldn’t stop re-reading some of the passages. The dialogue was witty and captivating. Imagine a poet/detective and another poet/ bomb-throwing anarchist at a party, talking about ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
What a taut thriller! This exquisite metaphysical thriller went with the breakneck speed of a man on a mission, which pretty much was what the story was about. The chapters are so well etched that I forgot at various points that there indeed is a central character (in this case, Syme). But much before I reached the last page, I realized that Chesterton has pulled off a beauty by awarding ALL characters, centre-stage. Not an easy task in a thriller, where the consequences of few people's action f ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it

This started off as a charming and fast-paced mystery story, and went completely fantastical/nuts by the end. Reminded me a bit of the Temptation of Saint Anthony combined with Kafka. As if PKD was plopped down in Victorian England and told to write a story before his drugs kicked in.

I've always liked G. K. Chesteron - for distributism, for fighting eugenics, etc. As it turns out, he's also a very charming writer. I'm glad to become more acquainted with him.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
"Há uma sociedade secreta de anarquistas que nos persegue como se fôssemos lebres. Não estou a falar de um grupo de pobres loucos capazes de atirar aqui ou ali uma bomba, impelidos pela fome ou pela filosofia alemã, mas de uma igreja rica, poderosa e fanática, uma igreja de pessimistas orientais, que considera ter por dever sagrado destruir o género humano como quem destrói um verme." (p. 121)

Publicado em 1908, com o subtítulo Um Pesadelo, O Homem Que Era Quinta-Feira apresenta um mundo onde imp
Jeannette Nikolova
Jan 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

BEHOLD... "The Man Who Was High". Once you've read this book, you'll know. My boyfriend, with whom I buddy-read it, and I discussed the topic and settled on opium (because it was written on the pre-LSD times).
"The Marquis had taken off his nose and turned out to be a detective."

That is to say, I did enjoy this book. The rating here is very subjective and it was calculated on the basis of how much I enjoyed it vs. how much it has influenced me and whet
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
“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--” 224 likes
“Always be comic in a tragedy. What the deuce else can you do?” 190 likes
More quotes…