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

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
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Jan 02, 2009

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Recommended to Terence by: Maevisvintage, Michael Dirda
Read in January, 2009

To be honest, I'm still trying to get my head around the book's ending, where the wheels-within-wheels machinations of the anarchists and the special police squad dedicated to eradicating them come to an earth-shattering finale.

Or does it...

The subtitle of the novel "A Nightmare," may not be entirely figurative.

And then there's an underlying idea that we're dealing with fundamental forces of the universe which becomes explicit in the final chapter (Professor Sunday is clearly a God figure, the other members of the anarchist cabal are dressed up as representatives of the six days of Creation and there's even a Satan figure who pops up).

However I end up "digesting" the ending, I did have fun getting there. Chesterton's writing in this small novel is sprightly and moves along quickly. He's a master of descriptive prose and there are some wonderful passages where his characters discuss anarchism vs. law. For example:

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.
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