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The Flying Inn

The Flying Inn [Kindle Edition]

G. K. Chesterton
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Extravagant, satirical, amusing to those who can read in the spirit in which it is written, and these will be fewer than the readers who enjoyed Manalive. The characters are caricatures who so approach possible types that they are convincing in their very impossibility. They are the means of attacking most of the foibles of the day.


Armed with a donkey cart filled with rum, cheese and a tavern signpost, pub owner Humphrey Hump and a companion take to the road in this rollicking, madcap adventure, extending good cheer to a cast of memorable characters. A hilarious, satirical romp in which Chesterton inveighs against Prohibition

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 370 KB
  • Print Length: 178 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1463630638
  • Publisher: Start Classics (1 Dec 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.ą r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,829 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Flying Inn 19 Sep 2003
It doesn't really amaze me that so few people have read much of Chesterton's works. In the UK especially, trying to find them is a thankless task in itself - unless you 're looking to read the adventures of Father Brown.
I'd heard of 'The Flying Inn' for years before I got hold of a copy and having read 'The Man Who Was Thursday' and 'The Napoleon of Notting Hill' I'd imagined a literal rendition of the title: this bar would really fly.
It doesn't.
But the prose does.
It's a wonderfully presented farce that explores - well, you judge for yourselves - the effects of liberty and censure upon the everyday man. Or the dangers and the delights of fashionable views and opinions becoming doctrine and dictate. Or just how much a good drink would be badly missed.
This is what happens: political machination results in prohibition in the United Kingdom. That this is due to the influence of a man claiming to extoll the benefits of Islam should not be regarded as blasphemous simply because the man is not all he seems, his theories outlandish in order to peddle to the pandered attitudes of the elite.
Common sense soon prevails and our heroes find a loophole in the law: pubs and ale houses are banned, their signs are pulled down ... only beneath these disappeared signs is the sale of alcohol permitted. Our two heroes: an inkeeper and a gallant ex-soldier wend their way across Britain, pursued by the law, armed with their own pub sign, some rum and a round of fine cheese. Wherever this sign is planted, they are able to sell drink until their pursuerrs draw near. Valiantly, they crusade to make a mockery of the law that has brought the drinking man to his knees, causing chaos and hilarity to follow in their wake.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Flying Inn 18 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This novel, written at the outbreak of WWI, is extraordinarily prescient. It portrays an English ruling class enamoured by Islam, but wholly ignorant of the horrors and terrible dangers that lie within that faith, (at least in its strictly orthodox form). The novel is also very droll and picaresque. It is by Chesterton, after all.
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0 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unsuccesful satire 21 Mar 2007
By Graham R. Hill VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dorthy Parker once said that for a satire to be succesful it has to still be funny the day after tomorrow. That day has arrived for 'The Flying Inn' and it woefully fails the test. Chestreton's targets are still valid: politicians who remove the rights of citizens in order to defend freedom, practioners of vacuous new-age philosophies, and (more parochially perhaps) the demise of the pub. He even includes among his villains that most topical of bogeymen, the muslim attempting to extend islamic values to the rest of the world. However the humour is meant to arise by speaking to the innate conservatism of a pre First World War readership; an audience that not only understood the class system but believed it was always wrong to try to subvert it; an audience that took it for granted that the British were superior to everyone else and that casual racism was the appropriate response when one met a foreigner. Which leads to what for me is the funniest part of an unfunny book - the character charged with being the chief defender of Britishness is actually Irish.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lust for Life, Political Incorrectness, and God 8 May 2003
By David Rolfe - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
G. K. Chesterton is a hugely powerful voice, both intellectually and spiritually. I resonate to him as I do to few others (a few examples of my personal favorites, going in different directions, would be Leo Tolstoy, Ayn Rand, Robert Heinlein, James Branch Cabell). "The Flying Inn", published in England in 1914, is a tale of a man who is confronted by modern cultural trends -- and, oddly enough, this focus on all things "modern" (in 1914) is no less relevant today than it was a hundred years ago. Chesterton saw England as being a culture in transition and in conflict with itself, and the struggles he saw play out dramatically in this novel: The individual versus the collective; common sense versus political correctness; right and wrong versus legal and illegal; a healthy soul versus a healthy body. But to state these themes makes the book sound like a lecture, and it's not that (although it does freely meander into occasional philosophical discourses, some of which didn't hold my interest); this story is, more than anything else, an adventure and an odyssey, which begins when Mr. Humphrey Pump wants to visit the local pub in pursuit of a pleasant hour, but he finds it is being shut down by lawmakers who have decreed the neighborhood bar to be an unhealthy anachronism. Thus begins a tale of flight and civil disobedience (hence the title, "The Flying Inn"). We meet a curious collection of characters that are driving, hindering, observing, and contemplating this safe, regulated, soulless, terrifying world of the near future.
The descriptions of multicultural mandates are prescient. For example, one of the major characters, an English lawmaker, is enamored with Islam, and he becomes an agent of social progress, having decided it's necessary to make England less offensive to its Muslim friends -- thus England is to be purged of pubs, not to mention, for example, ending the offensive Christian habit of marking ballots with a cross (they should be marked instead with a crescent). A lot of the details of this enlightened "tolerance" ring disturbingly true when juxtaposed against the excesses of the present day.
Like "Gulliver's Travels", "The Flying Inn" is both a serious social comment and a lot of fun. There's a reason it's still in print after all these years.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Weird and Wonderful 20 Nov 2000
By paul barlow - Published on
A fantastical rollercoaster of a book presenting the deranged but life-loving forces of Merry England holding back the tide of dreary and oppressive modernity in the form of Prohibition, Vegetarianism and Theosophy. The plot involves a pre-1914 alliance between the teetotal Ottoman Empire and 'progressive' British killjoys, keen to introduce Europe to the spiritual benefits of Islamic culture. Only a singing Irish Captain and a pub landlord with a keg of rum and a giant cheese stand in their way. As their 'flying inn' evades prohibition on a rollicking journey round England, Chesterton makes swipes at the various forms of 'advanced thought' prevalent in his day, satirised in drinking songs, and in the absurd meetings of the Simple Souls, a society devoted to progress. Even `Post-Futurist' art gets a hammering, until the Falstaffian culture of old England is restored to the sound of many a drunken song.

A loopy book, to be sure, and one which manages to be gloriously politically incorrect. Some of the targets of Chesterton's attacks will seem obscure to modern readers, but the fun is irresistible. A major precursor to Magic Realism, well before its time. The Post-Futurists are far less Post-modern than this. And we should all drink to that.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic and Tragic Masterpiece 15 July 2006
By Arthem - Published on
The Flying Inn defied many of my expectations of the book, but is imbued with Chesteron and his many unique prophetic touches. Throughout, the story is a meandering dash of unlikely heroes, pitted against all the forces of "modern" society. In this respect, the book is a clear precursor to CS Lewis' "That Hideous Strength", and bears a great deal of similarity to Chesterton's "The Ball & The Cross". From the standpoint of the characters and the plot, "The Flying Inn" is hilarious. I read it on the airplane and caught myself laughing out loud.

But then there is the tragic component of the story, which is that the prophetic vein has proven all too true. Certainly the west never embraced and incorporated Islam to the extent that Chesterton portrays - the temperance movement is quiescent for the moment, and although everything from fast food to meat is under assault from the nanny state, the attack doesn't bear the hallmarks of a crypto-islamic ethic.

But, Chesterton accurately portrays the weakness of the West as it abandons its underlying moral strength as it abandons Christianity, leaving it at the mercy of societies in which self-hatred and tolerance are not treated as virtues. There is a strong Chesterbelloc tone to the book - Hillaire Belloc's catalog of the enemies of the Church are well represented. Indeed, "The Flying Inn" demonstrates Chesteron's gift at immortalizing concepts, where Belloc's more lucid expositions are dated and flat.

Where Chesteron's "The Ball & The Cross" illustrates a dystopia of modernism and apathy, "The Flying Inn" illustrates a dystopia of oligarchic cultural relativism. And it is just such an assault that has rendered the West so vulnerable to the current assault by Islam - an assault not by violence and conquest (despite the activities of terrorists), but an assault of belief and energy. Muslim immigration has transformed Europe, and outside of England and Poland, there is little resistance left in the weak old secular dominions. Chesterton's world is coming to pass - the green banners of "the prophet" fly ever more freely in Europe.

And yet, despite the enormity of both the portrayal and realization of the death of a great civilization, Chesterton's romping tale leaves you hopeful and cheerful. Ultimately, Merrie England and its children will have the final laugh - precisely because we CAN laugh, and our enemies cannot.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative 19 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on
The Flying Inn is a delightful treasury of wit, poetry, and commentary, wrapped together in a story written in the positive spirit of early 20th-century adventure books. Some of the specifics might at first appear to be dated, but the theme is more relevant than ever.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read 3 Aug 2004
By Paul Stilwell - Published on
They say that Chesterton was at his best when he was at his lightest, that it was when his insights and prophecies came forth most abundantly. Having read The Flying Inn, all I can say to the above is INDEED. The Flying Inn is so hilarious, rollicking, and downright politically incorrect. But not politically incorrect as some left-wing liberals try to be today. Their attempts at satire utterly lack life and they have a snarl and sneer that gives their satire impotence. Here though, in The Flying Inn, G.K. Chesterton weaves a satire that is at once innocent and jolly as much as his other writing, yet inflicting, cutting, and merciless as the satire of Waugh. In fact, it seems the more jolly and innocent G.K. gets, the more he is able to make capacity for the cutting satire. In this book they go hand in hand, and bubble over with the exuberance and notion that the book is also realizing its own joke. This is G.K.C. laughing at his best.
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