I'll admit, this story had me hooked in the beginning. But with every piece of plot development, it got more and more predictable and painful. Sometimes it was big, "what the hell" moments, other times it was little things that ruined the suspended disbelief, like "there's no way all of this dialogue could take place in that amount of time;" which ruins any fiction. I gave the narrator 4 stars because I only just realized that I did actually finish the book.
Gk has a thoroughly entertaining narrative and one of the most creative and unique Christian perspectives. The book moves the reader along well between philosophical insights. The last chapter is very profound about the problem of suffering.
The novel starts as an amusing farce about anarchists and the police infiltrating their organization. The first half of the novel is quite worth hearing. But then the plot becomes more and more wild and ridiculous, and the last third degenerates into arch, nonsensical social commentary. The ending is very weak indeed. Overall, not very worthwhile spending time on.
6 of 16 people found this review helpful
"The Man Who Was Thursday" starts off as a spy novel set in Victorian England. The villains are the anarchists, a group of ruthless nihilists bent on destroying civilization and ultimately mankind. If one substitutes the concept of "terrorist" for that of "anarchist," the idea does not seem so outdated. Syme, the protagonist of the novel, is a poet, but also an undercover agent who infiltrates the secret cabal of the anarchists. One expects to find deeply conservative philosophical underpinnings in a Chesterton novel, and this book provides that bountifully.
But as the book progresses, the characters become less like individual people, and more like incarnations of philosophical concepts. The plot, too, becomes less credible, until finally it seems amateurish.
Most disappointing of all is the end of the book, in which the reader does not find a satisfactory tying together of the various strands of the story line. Having read most of the Father Brown mystery short stories, I had expected more and better from Chesterton.
Walter Covell's excellent narration is not enough to compensate for the shortcomings of this book. Chesteron, it seems, tried to write both a thriller and a philosophical tome in one book. Sadly, he succeeded at neither.
4 of 14 people found this review helpful