At first, The Man Who Was Thursday seems no more than a detective story that also has both poetry and politics, as well. But it soon becomes a mystery that grows more mysterious, until it is nothing less than the mystery of creation itself. This is Chesterton's most famous novel. Never out of print since it was first published in 1908, critics immediately hailed it as "amazingly clever", "a remarkable acrobatic performance", and "a scurrying, door-slamming farce that ends like a chapter in the Apocalypse". One reviewer described how he had read it in one sitting and put it down, "completely dazed".
Of G. K. Chesterton’s thousands of books, essays, short stories, and poems, the greatest is The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. Draped in the luxurious cloth of Edwardian thriller, this seminal story is actually a metaphysical argument between law and revolt, with a smattering of Christian theology thrown into the mix. As luxurious as its prose is Walter Covell’s performance of the text. Using a precise British accent, Covell conveys the action as if he is seated upon a swivel chair three feet above its unfolding. Sit back as men who represent days of the week strip the facades from their true beings.
"This book is Chesterton at his best. Every scene is perfect. Every line is a gem." (The American Chesterton Society)
"Gilbert Keith Chesterton's tale, The Man Who Was Thursday is an intriguing story about a group of anarchists and one man's endeavor to uncover their nefarious plot. Part mystery and part social commentary, this is a delightfully funny foray into turn of the century (19th) London that is as relevant today as it was in 1908, when it was first published. Bizarre, hilarious, and a real page turner, this is one of those books to add to your list of books to have with you should you ever be stranded on a desert island, for with every reading you will ferret out more elements of the mystery, as well as the nuances of Chesterton's social and political commentaries that run as an unobtrusive commentary throughout this unique and deceptively complex novel." (Fritz du Trey)
"It is very difficult to classify The Man Who Was Thursday. It is possible to say that it is a gripping adventure story of murderous criminals and brilliant policemen; but it was to be expected that the author of the Father Brown stories should tell a detective story like no-one else. On this level, therefore, The Man Who Was Thursday succeeds superbly; if nothing else, it is a magnificent tour-de-force of suspense-writing." (World Wide School Library)
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A Chesterton Disappointment
- Eric Chevlen