Item description for The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin) by G. K. Chesterton & Kingsley Amis...
Overview This hilarious extravaganza presumes the existence of a secret society of revolutionaries sworn to destroy the world. There are seven members of the Central Anarchist Council, who, for reasons of security, call themselves by the names of the days of the week - Sunday, Monday and so on. But events soon cast a doubt upon their real identities, for Thursday is not the passionate young poet he appears to be but a Scotland Yard detective. Who and what are the others? Chesterton unravels the fantasy in his own inventive and exuberant way and then uses this nightmare of paradox and surprise to probe the mysteries of human behaviour and belief. 'The Man Who was Thursday is not quite a political bad dream, nor a metaphysical thriller, nor a cosmic joke in the form of a spy novel, but it has something of all three . . . it remains the most thrilling book I have ever read' - Kingsley Amis
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Studio: Penguin Classics
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 0.3 lbs.
Release Date Aug 7, 1990
Publisher Penguin Classics
Series Penguin Twentieth-Century Classi
ISBN 0140183884 ISBN13 9780140183887 UPC 051488008958
Availability 11 units. Availability accurate as of Mar 23, 2017 06:25.
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More About G. K. Chesterton & Kingsley Amis
P. D. Jamesis the bestselling author of many celebrated literary mystery novels. She served in the Police and Criminal Justice departments of Great Britain's Home Office, and in 1991 she was made a life peer as Baroness James of Holland Park. She lives in London and Oxford.
G. K. Chesterton lived in London. G. K. Chesterton was born in 1874 and died in 1936.
G. K. Chesterton has published or released items in the following series...
Classic Wisdom Collection
Collected Works of G. K. Chesterton
Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton
Doubleday Image Book
Dover Books on History, Political and Social Science
Reviews - What do customers think about The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)?
The perfect spy novel Jun 6, 2008
Simply the best spy novel I ever read. Furthermore is a christian allegory of the contradictions of human nature viewed from a sinful perspective, which leads us to the marvelous mistery of the good and the evil, through the eyes of an undercover agent.
Yes, I Think It IS a Nightmare Apr 28, 2008
I am a Chesterton fan and have read several of his books, mostly non-fiction. "The Man ...." is in my reading, definitely a nightmare and very well crafted as one. The progress of the story line has the kind of time compression and startling disconnections which are so true to a dreamm sequence. There is an exceptional, though not universally appealing, literary quality present in this book for Chesterton to be able to even pull it off, much less to hold the reader's attention through out.
Though Chesterton does deny any ultimate meaning to the story yet I doubt that he could write anything that does not have some satirical content. The sheer originality of the book, the day sequence, the gathered feast at the end with the presiding "week" at the head table could not have sprung "whole cloth" from nothing. It is the kind of story that leaves one with a sense of connection, that a bridge does exist between the themes of the story and the reality of our human circumstance.
Perhaps in making us ponder whether or not it is so, Chesterton accomplished his goal.
Four stars because it does require a disciplined reading at some points. The sheer volume of description is a bit tiresome at times though very well done. It should be required reading in a course on modern literature simply for the uniqueness of it and the craftsman level quality of the prose.
Hardly a Nightmare, but a Dream Reflecting Reality Apr 3, 2008
This book is simply brilliant, an enjoyable and fascinating read. Chesterton possessed such a magnificent command of the English language, of irony and description and engrossing writing, that I would highly recommend the book simply to allow a reader to marvel at Chesterton's writings.
Yet the book is so much more than simply an enjoyable read. Under the guise of a fantastic and occasionally bizarre tale, Chesterton probes the depths of the human soul and the human condition.
Some have remarked that the book is almost Kafka-esque. Such is a quite accurate appraisal, but Chesterton transcends Kafka, for Chesterton writes an apologeia and theological and epistemological treatise in the guise of a bizarre and scrupulously well-written book. Kafka wrote nightmares because he had nightmares in his head. Chesterton wrote a nightmare because he realized that while the world around us may take on the guise of a nightmare, it is really only "the back of the man," and we can only really grasp the magnificence of reality if we can get around to see his face.
A brilliant book, highly recommended for repeated reading.
Chesterton's vivid imagination and an allegory to ruin your life... Mar 7, 2008
First I'll say that this book certainly lived up to the reputation Chesterton holds as a literary genius. His subtle wit at times had me audibly laughing out loud. The descriptions he uses paint very vivid images in your mind and all the while he manages to hold an incredible level of suspense throughout the novel.
At times a chase scene will digress into an in-depth philosophical conversation among the main characters. And yet this never feels out of place or forced. I had previously only read Chesterton's non-fiction works (which I highly recommend, especially "Orthodoxy"), and wasn't sure entirely what to expect in a fictional work of his. I was not disappointed.
That is, I was not disappointed until the very end. There is a certain literary trick which I have not infrequently seen writers use to "resolve" a storyline that has gotten itself into a lot of complexity. This is particularly used when a narrative begins in the real world and ends taking some fantastical turn for the surreal. Sadly, Chesterton resorts to this trick, which I personally consider a cheap trick. Its like the author asks the reader to emotionally invest in everything that is happening in the book and then at the end, the author gives the climactic equivalent of "just kidding!" To resolve such complexity in a satisfying way and in a way consistent with the rest of the novel certainly takes more thought, more time, more pages. Probably this is why is not an uncommon trick, but, in my estimate, still a cheap one. This novel was great even with the cheap ending, but could've been colossally great had the time been invested to resolve it satisfactorily.
*** the following paragraph contains spoilers***
Only one more point to note: THIS IS NOT AN ALLEGORY. I am unsure if this edition of the book contains the same article extract that my penguin classics edition did, but in it, Chesterton explains that this book was not meant to be a theological allegory. If it were, we would all be living in a very miserable world. Chesterton states in the article: "...then the discovery that the mysterious master both of the anarchy and the order was the same sort of elemental elf who had appeared to be rather too like a pantomime ogre. This line of logic, or lunacy, led many to infer that this equivocal being was meant for a serious description of the Deity... [The book] was not intended to describe the real world as it was, or as I thought it was. It was intended to describe the world of wild doubt and despair which the pessimists were generally describing at that date..."
When I first read the final chapter, I was truly very perplexed as to Chesterton's theological statement. After reading the article (which was placed after the story) it became much clearer. Wherever this article is placed in your edition, I suggest reading it first (or at least before reading the last 2 chapters). DO NOT SKIP IT! You will miss the whole point (most likely). Granted, there are themes that are meant to point to a greater spiritual truth, but it is in no way an "allegory" (as, for example, "the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was meant to portray an almost one-to-one correlation between characters/events and Christian theology.)
Despite the ending, it is still deserving of all 5 stars. A highly enjoyable read.
The Man Who Was Thursday Feb 28, 2008
Marvelous cover to cover. It's one of those novels I like to read with pen in hand, for underlining the dialog, so meaningful, important, and quotable. It's by G.K. Chesterton, which is all anyone needs to know to know it's more than worth reading. A good mystery, unpredictable, with some humor, like all Chesterton.