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Preview — The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
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The Man Who Was Thursday
'"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"'
In a park in London, secret policeman Gabriel Syme strikes up a conversation with an anarchist. Sworn to do his
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 ...more
One day, during his days of his éminence grise littéraire - the days late in his unbuttoned life of entre deux guerres - we find him on his own madcap mystery tour on the de rigeur readings and signings circuit. The total stress and if-this-is-Friday-it-must-be-Paris kaleidoscopic feeling of it all, must have overwhelmed this poor, usually windbaggish bonhomme... ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
Very quickly we move onto international conspiracy and after this all the way into bizarre and way bey ...more
Blah. Skip it.
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 ...more
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 ...more
"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 ...more
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 ...more
The story itself makes no sense, until you come back to the subtitle: A Nightmare. Like a dream, ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
More recently I attended a stage adaptation by Chicago's New Leaf Theatre Company the satire about a man who finds himself tapped by Scotland Yard to infiltrate a council of anarchists. The unique qualities that fascinated me as a college student r ...more
"What are we going to do?" asked the Professor.
"At this moment," said Syme, with scientific detachment, "I think we are going to smash into a lamp-post."
A+++ for dialogue, action, adventure, atmosphere, and a good dollop of philosophy thrown in there at the end.
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 ...more
This bit of classic spy fiction is whimsical, lively, and tad farcical. Our protagonist, Gabriel Syme, is an honorable poet that is nothing if not respectable and respecting of the rule of law. Being such a virtuous specimen, Syme is recruited by law-enforcement and so endeavors to infiltrate an anarchist society and do what he can to protect the values he holds dear against this subversive lot, but doing so gets him into quite the spiraling nightmare situatio ...more
A unique and joyous book: mystery, adventure, thriller, spy novel, farce, social satire, political satire, religious allegory, philosophical rumination, psychological study, surrealism, absurdism... an exuberrant and devastatingly talented romp that's at the same time a very serious novel.
I didn't find it a very emotionally engaging novel - characters who wear masks, a flippant tone, and a brakeneck pace (with countless twists) combine to make it hard to really viscerally care about anything or ...more
|Around the Year i...: The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton||2||39||Dec 20, 2019 07:40PM|
|The Last Two Chapter...||4||45||Nov 19, 2018 05:54AM|
|The Readers Revie...: The Man Who Was Thursday: Part Three-Oct 1-7: Chapters 12-15 and final thoughts||40||31||Oct 11, 2017 04:41PM|
|The Readers Revie...: The Man Who was Thursday: Part Two-Sept 24-30: Chapters 7-11||22||19||Oct 01, 2017 05:45PM|
|The Readers Revie...: The Man Who was Thursday: Part One-Sept 17-23: Chapters 1-6||55||37||Oct 01, 2017 04:30PM|
|The Readers Revie...: The Man Who Was Thursday - Background Information||6||34||Sep 29, 2017 09:28AM|