The story begins when two poets meet. Gabriel Syme is a poet of law. Lucian Gregory is a poetic anarchist. As the poets protest their respective philosophies, they strike a challenge. In the ruckus that ensues, the Central European Council of Anarchists elects Syme to the post of Thursday, one of their seven chief council positions. Undercover. On the run, Syme meets with Sunday, the head of the council, a man so outrageously mysterious that his antics confound both the law-abiding and the anarchist.
Who is lawful? Who is immoral? Such questions are strangely in the presence of Sunday. He is wholly other. He is above the timeless questions of humanity and also somehow behind them.
There's something about this book which no plot synopsis can convey. This is in part due to the writing: Chesterton writes prose that is as beautiful, as playful, as inventive as poetry. The plot, too, has a unique quality which makes it truly captivating. This book is funny, bewildering, confusing and moving. One of the best I've come across in a long while.
And a note regarding the narration: If you're familiar with Simon Vance, no recommendation will be necessary. If not, then just do yourself a favor, get this audiobook and get to known one of the best narrators out there, if not *the* best.
G. K. Chesterton is undoubtedly much smarter than this reviewer, so it would be impossible for me to judge his wisdom in handling his subject through a fantasy that is part detective story and part fantastic romp. But my own reaction to it was to feel let down at the end by what seemed to be a surreal, non-ending. I'm sure that he intended that somehow in order to cause his audience to think about what they have read rather than giving them the answer to the riddle of meaning. Maybe someday I'll have an 'aha!' moment when it will hit me like lightning. Until then, however, it's like watching a play in the theater of the absurd and knowing that you should applaud for the performance but wondering if the author had some underlying meaning. If you want to hear absolutely exquisite narration, Simon Vance does his remarkable job interpreting the characters and carrying the story forward. But I'm sorry to say that the story didn't live up to my expectations.
An almost-forgotten classic of early 20th century fiction, The Man Who Was Thursday captures the frenzy and fears of fin de siècle Europe. It is also a funny, thought-provoking read. To enjoy it, though, you will need to suspend all your judgments of what makes for a good detective novel, a good literary novel, a good comedic novel, or a good historical novel--this novel plays with all these categories and more as it gallops along to its completely unexpected climax.
After listening to this recording I felt that it's also a book that really SHOULD be heard, instead of read silently. Chesterton's delightful use of alliterative language is a joy to listen to, and the voices of the novel's many characters (and they are all, believe me, 'characters') are superbly rendered in this recording by Simon Vance.
A wonderful morality play of a thriller of a story. in the traditional tone you would expect of a classical tale much like Indiana Jones, where the telling of the tale is very melodious, almost prose. The story can be quite quick, and quickly twisting as the main plot begins to reach a crecendo. The conclusion also requires the reader to twist their presumptions of the entire story...again very much like an Indiana Jones or Sherlock Holmes type story. My first Chesterton read...and I think well worth it.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
G K Chesterton's metaphysical thriller The Man Who Was Thursday reads a little like a cross between Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, and Franz Kafka, melding the pointed nonsense of the first, the witty aphorisms and descriptions and conversations of the second, and the nightmarishly entangling mysteries of the third. It's a thought-provoking, humorous, frightening, and ultimately hopeful story about the nature of good and evil and order and chaos in the world. It makes you confront the possibility that we are watching the world from behind rather than from in front, or that nothing and no one is what it seems to be, or that there is something outside our perception that is bigger than us. As an atheist, I cannot accept some of the implications and symbols in the d??nouement of the book, but the decent humanity and struggle to understand of the protagonist are deeply moving.
As for the reader, Simon Vance does a masterful job of reading the story, making Chesterton's aesthetically vivid and refined style and outrageous and human characters come fully alive and please the ear.
Simon Vance is an excellent reader. He differentiates characters beautifully and makes the story come alive.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I was enjoying the story until about 2/3's of the way through when it seemed to dissintegrate into a Keystone Cop caper. The absurdity of the chase across the countryside involving horses, cars and even an elephant ruined what had been up to that point an interesting historical/political suspense story. I did enjoy this reader - his voice and style was well suited to the story. I will look for more of his books and hope they will be better up to his talents.
I suppose there is some deep Christian allegory hidden in here somewhere, but it isn't worth plodding through the inane plot to find it.
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