Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Man who was Thursday

I started reading this over the inevitable 26-hour journey from Chicago to the UK in February. It's a fantastic book, and I had to stop reading it two chapters from the end. It's clear that GK Chesterton had some agenda when writing it; I only wish I knew what it was. I won't spoil, but it goes exponentially from being undeniably slow to heart-pounding and utterly surreal. The subtitle is "A Nightmare" and there are a lot of indications that by no means are you to take this book seriously. Only you want to. The main character is just a straight-up awesome dude and it spins such an enticing world.
The premise is Gabriel Syme, a member of the secret police, finds himself elected into a top rank in an international terrorist organization. Sound very topical for today? It was published in 1908.


 So the plot is insane, brilliant too, and will have you smiling like a Cheshire Cat as you turn each page. If I gave it away here I'd be the world's biggest bastard, but it's fair to say that it's unique in the world of literature. To put it bluntly, Chesterton has written a book about the pursuit of God.
There's something enticingly movie-like about the novel, what with all the chases around London, special effects (including a memorable elephant), sword fights, dreamscape countryside and constant mortal peril. But like all that's good about Chesterton, it also has a devil-may-care, winsome, romantic streak a mile wide. If it was going to be a film, it should have been directed by Hitchcock; this really is like the 39 steps as written by Kafka.

22 comments:

  1. Always looking out for good reads. Thanks for pointing this one out.

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  2. Read this a while back, amazing book.

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  3. I'll have to check this out, thanks.

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  4. Looks like an interesting read! Might download the ebook!

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  5. Ill have to download the ebook when i get a chance.

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  6. I'll add this to my reading list.

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  7. Will add this to my wish list at the local library.

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  8. Hmm sounds like it would be a good audiobook for me to listen to!

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  9. I must pick this up sometime

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  10. this was an interesting read

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  11. Interesting book, I may look into getting it, thanks for the suggestion!

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  12. Thanks for the suggestion...this one's now added to my reading list!

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  13. since i looked for a new book to read i will get this one

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  14. The way you're suggesting it really makes me want to read it now!

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  15. How on earth did it take you 26 hours to get to London! It takes me 10.5 from LA. I'm going to check out this book, it sounds great.

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  16. This sounds like a fantastic read. Definitely adding it to my to-read list :D

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  17. Sounds very interesting to me! Will surely read it when I find the time.

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