June 11, 2008

The Man Who Was Thursday by G K Chesterton

If I though writing the review of the last book was hard, I just had to wait until this book. It's hard for entirely different reasons: The Shack was all too easy to see through to the point behind it, The Man Who Was Thursday was hard to see through. In fact, it wasn't until the last few pages that I even began to see what he was getting at. But as I've had further time to process (with a little help from biographical sources), I've started to understand. And what I'm seeing now is just so cool. I would best describe the experience of reading this book to be somewhat between what I felt when I read Catch-22 and what I felt when I read Ted Dekker's The Circle Triology (which ironically what I'm reading next) or House.

The Man Who Was Thursday is an early turn-of-the-last-century spy novel. The best description of the genre that I've seen is "metaphysical thriller." It is full of clever and unusual twists and turns, right up until the last pages. And it is only then that you'll begin to see the significance of all seemingly insignificant issues of the first 150 pages. If I were to say anything more, I would ruin it.

When I merely consider the plot, I find it unique and thrilling. The main character, Syme, is an undecover police officer whose goal is to infiltrate and take down an anarchist group run by a council of men who go by the names of the days of the week. Sunday is the big, terrifying boss man. There are a couple of unusual chase scenes of the type found in nightmares (which is actually the subtitle of the book "A Nightmare").

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries, thrillers, crime books, or anything with allegory. This isn't the kind of book to read if you don't want to think, but if you do want to think, this is definitely the book to read. I think I'll be rereading it soon, now that I understand it a bit more, but it's a short, fast-paced book (156 pages) which lends itself to rereading.


  1. I plan to reread this one soon; I only read it once, 10 years ago now, but I still recall it as one of my all-time favorites.


Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...