Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Book Review: The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)

 Gilbert Chesterton.jpg

Gilbert Keith (G.K.) Chesterton (1874-1936)

is perhaps best known for his detective stories about Father Brown, a Roman-Catholic priest. However, Chesterton was also a poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer, lay theologian and Christian apologist; and another one of those authors that influenced and was highly praised by C.S. Lewis.

I have read the Father Brown stories in the past – and last year also watched an enjoyable BBC drama series based on them (set in the 1950s, although the original stories were written 1911-1935).

Now I decided to have a go at a novel from 1908 with the intriguing title

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

Image result for the man who was thursday summary 

Just like my last read, this book too turned out to be one of those not easy to categorize. I knew very little of it beforehand; and as I think that is really the best way to read it, I in turn don’t want to reveal too much. So rather than give away plot details, I shall try to just share how I felt about it. 

Right from the start it struck me as a rather creepily up-to-date read from the aspect that one of the major themes has to do with anarchism/ terrorism and a bomb threat to a major European city.  It also crossed my mind quite early on (from a certain scene), that this might well be another one of all the books from which J.K. Rowling picked some inspiration for Harry Potter. Anyway, in spite of the serious (and indeed, as the title suggests, nightmarish) background, and some deeply moral and philosophical discussions – this story does not only keep up a high degree of suspense, but it also includes a lot of unexpected twists and turns and a good deal of humour. (Sometimes I even laughed out loud.) I found it very hard to put down – I just wanted to keep on reading to see what happened!

A quote for Teaser Tuesday

“They were a balconyful of gentlemen overlooking a bright and busy square; but he felt no more safe with them than if they had been a boatful of armed pirates overlooking an empty sea.” (p. 66)


  1. The men in your quote were probably bankers. I don't think I've ever read any GK Chesterton works despite the fact that he's a household name.

    1. Chesterton gave a lot of BBC radio talks back in the early 1930s, so no doubt your parents would have been well acquainted with him as a public figure, Graham. As for your comment on the quote, that made me laugh. I'm not going to reveal the identity of the gentlemen on the balcony; but your thought does touch on certain other quoteworthy statements in the same novel. (Not that anything is ever as simple as it might seem...)

  2. Interesting, I haven't read anything by this author before. I'm always up for a book that makes me laugh so I'll have to check it out.

    Here's my TT

  3. I love G.K. Chesterton! He's one of my favourite writers of all time - awesome teaser there!

    My teaser is from Pennyroyal Academy

  4. Intriguing, ordered it for my Kindle.

  5. This is one that has been on my Classics list for some time and yet I never started it. Your review has convinced me I should get on with it :) Thanks for sharing :) Hope you have a great week!
    My Tuesday post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  6. Intriguing! I think I know which Father Brown series you mean. If it's the one with Mark Williams, I've been watching that one last year, too.

    1. Yes Meike, the series I watched has Mark Williams in the role of Father Brown. And he does the character justice, I think.

  7. I love Chesterton's quotes, so I bet this is excellent! and I like the creepy passage you chose for us. Oh my, that hair. It looks like me when I was in middle school.

    1. Without the mustache, I hope, Ginny? (LOL) I still think I prefer it to the unbridled beards of the 19th century authors (like worn by MacDonald and Collins)

  8. I'd have to be in the right mood to read this. Sometimes the writing style from that era is tedious for me to read--other times, I savor it. This does sound like a good plot.
    My Tuesday post features ALL THAT GLITTERS.

  9. This is one I'm not sure about. I do like the cover but it might not be my cup of tea.

    My TT - http://fuonlyknew.com/2015/02/17/teaser-tuesdays-102-the-loch-by-steve-alten/


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