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The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (Twentieth Century Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 26 Apr 1990


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (26 April 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140183884
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140183887
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 422,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

" A powerful picture of the loneliness and bewilderment which each of us encounters in his single-handed struggle with the universe."
--C. S. Lewis --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The fantastically surreal classic from a master of suspense --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
THE suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged as a cloud of sunset. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mr B on 1 May 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Witty, wonderfully written and endlessly surprising, The Man who was Thursday is a novel which defies categories. It is hard to believe it was first published a whole century ago and that its protagonists scamper about in tails and top hats 'like black chimney pots'. On one level, it is a breathless thriller worthy of 007 - featuring a descent into an international terrorist organization headquarters, a baffling game of subterfuge between spies and a high speed chase through central London after an elephant and a hot air balloon. On another, it is a profound meditation on the nature of identity and the theological problem of evil. Entertainment and such weighty themes make strange bedfellows indeed, but here it is as if they tear off the sheets and indulge in a 100-page pillow fight so much fun is had by their combination. Chesterton acts as a winking master of revels throughout, orchestrating the chaos in his inimitable style while scattering bon mots and charming comparisons with abandon. One of my personal all time favourites, 'the wild joy of being Thursday' is an experience I will return to again and again.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Officer Dibble VINE VOICE on 5 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback
On a lazy afternoon of witty repartee, Lucien (Lucifer?) Gregory reveals to the poet Gabriel (angel?) Syme, that he is an anarchist (anti-christ?). The pair go, quite literally, underground (Hades?) and double-bluff each other as to who is anarchist and who is policeman.

Is this allegory, satire or, as the title implies, a 'Nightmare' involving Lucien and Gabriel as 'the two fantastics'? To support the latter there is a prolonged 'nightmarish' chase section where the protagonists oten ask each other, 'When will I wake up?'

The main body of the 'crime' element of the novel involves a helter-skelter puruit of the anarchists across Edwardian England and northern France. This is coupled with the test of Gabriel and Lucien's 'my word is my bond' in a web of betrayal and deceit.

Mr Chesterton has a distinct style which is especially demanding at the start of the novel but it progresses to an easier ride as he concentrates on the narrative rather than descriptive. This novel is difficult to classify and open to multiple interpretations. Quite challenging. No sooner had I pigeon-holed the novel than it made a fool of me.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 1 Mar 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
For a book that's as short as this one, "The Man Who Was Thursday" is pretty packed.

G.K. Chesterton's classic novella tackles anarchy, social order, God, peace, war, religion, human nature, and a few dozen other weight concepts. And somehow he manages to mash it all together into a delightful satire, full of tongue-in-cheek commentary that is still relevant today.

As the book opens, Gabriel Symes is debating with a soapbox anarchist. The two men impress each other enough that the anarchist introduces Symes to a seven-man council of anarchists, all named after days of the week. In short order, they elect Symes their newest member -- Thursday.

But they don't know that he's also been recruited by an anti-anarchy organization. And soon Symes finds out that he's not the only person on the council who is not what he seems. There are other spies and double-agents, working for the same cause. But who -- and what -- is the jovial, powerful Mr. Sunday, the head of the organization?

Hot air balloons, elaborate disguises, duels and police chases -- Chesterton certainly knew how to keep this novel interesting. Though written almost a century ago, "The Man Who Was Thursday" still feels very fresh. That's partly because of Chesterton's cheery writing... and partly because it's such an intelligent book.

He doesn't avoid some timeless topics that make some people squirm. Humanity (good and bad), anarchy, religion and its place in human nature, and creation versus destruction all get tackled here -- disguised as a comic police investigation. And unlike most satires, it isn't dated; the topics are reflections of humanity and religion, so they're as relevant now as they were in 1908.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Oct 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Renowned for his Father Brown stories, GK Chesterton has created a small but perfectly formed classic nightmare-novel.Strange colours and landscapes form around a group of anarchists named after days of the week. The dreamlike quality is enriched by the familiar but almost otherwordly locations,london streets and parks, a winter's night by the Thames, frantic chases accross Northern France and the strange energy of the characters.
At once a realistic fairy tale or a fantastical account of a dream this short story is one to enjoy and immerse yourself in.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Jan 2009
Format: Paperback
For a book that's as short as this one is, "The Man Who Was Thursday" is pretty packed.

G.K. Chesterton's classic novella tackles anarchy, social order, God, peace, war, religion, human nature, and a few dozen other weight concepts. And somehow he manages to mash it all together into a delightful satire, full of tongue-in-cheek commentary that is still relevant today.

As the book opens, Gabriel Symes is debating with a soapbox anarchist. The two men impress each other enough that the anarchist introduces Symes to a seven-man council of anarchists, all named after days of the week. In short order, they elect Symes their newest member -- Thursday.

But they don't know that he's also been recruited by an anti-anarchy organization. And soon Symes finds out that he's not the only person on the council who is not what he seems. There are other spies and double-agents, working for the same cause. But who -- and what -- is the jovial, powerful Mr. Sunday, the head of the organization?

Hot air balloons, elaborate disguises, duels and police chases -- Chesterton certainly knew how to keep this novel interesting. Though written almost a century ago, "The Man Who Was Thursday" still feels very fresh. That's partly because of Chesterton's cheery writing... and partly because it's such an intelligent book.

He doesn't avoid some timeless topics that make some people squirm. Humanity (good and bad), anarchy, religion and its place in human nature, and creation versus destruction all get tackled here -- disguised as a comic police investigation. And unlike most satires, it isn't dated; the topics are reflections of humanity and religion, so they're as relevant now as they were in 1908.
Read more ›
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