Man Who Was Thursday

Chesterton, G.K. The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. [Auckland]: The Floating Press, 2009. ebook collection (EBSCOhost). Web. February 3rd, 2015.

There are so many reviews which comment on the religious allegory of this book so I will refrain from doing that, except to say I enjoyed the “dueling with the devil” scene the most. There are also many reviews that mention how weird the story gets. Agreed. Completely. This is one of those situations in a story where purpose overshadows plot because the whole thing is really quite ridiculous. In a nutshell, Gabriel Symes is an undercover detective who infiltrates an anarchist group (Council of the Seven Days) only to find that the entire membership, with the exception of its leader, is made up of undercover New Detective Corps members. Each member goes by a day of the week for an alias, hence the Council of the Seven Days. Symes has just been nominated as “Thursday”. As a collective week they are all trying to get at the elusive leader, “Sunday”. Except, they are all in the dark as to each others true identities. What I find curious is that when Sunday sniffs out a spy his fears are confirmed when the undercover policeman reveals he is carrying his membership card to the anti-anarchist constabulary. Wouldn’t you remove that piece of evidence, especially if you bother to go through the trouble of wearing an elaborate disguise? Gogol posed as a hairy Pole, accent and all. The Professor posed as an invalid old man with a huge nose. Turns out, all six policemen are carrying the tell-tale blue identification card. Not one of them thought to leave it at home. But, I digress. For most of the story it is a cat and mouse game with the good guys chasing the bad guys (until one by one, they find out they are all good guys). The theme of “who can you trust” is ongoing.

I found a who bunch of lines and phrases I wanted to quote. Here are a few of them: “Many suitcases look a like” (p 2), “Boisterous rush of the narrative” (p 5), “The poet delights in disorder only” (p 15), “It is new for a nightmare to lead to a lobster” (p 29), and one more, “If you want to know what you are, you are a set of highly well-intentioned young jackasses” (p 263).

Reason read: Anarchy plays a huge part in Man Who Was Thursday and the Russian Revolution happened in February. You make the connection.

Author fact: Chesterton also wrote The Best of Father Brown which is also on my Challenge list.

Book trivia: The Man Who Was Thursday was first published in 1908. I cannot tell you how cool it is to be reading this an e-book 107 years later. As an aside, this is my first Challenge book from Ebsco. Another small piece of trivia: Chesterton had a thing for the sea. He mentions it no less than a dozen times throughout The Man Who Was Thursday.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “100 Good Reads, Decade By Decade” (p 175).

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