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The Man Who Was Thursday | [G. K. Chesterton]

The Man Who Was Thursday

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.
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Publisher's Summary

This is quite possibly Chesterton's most famous novel. All that G. K. Chesterton's critics labeled him- devotional, impious, confounding, intelligent, humorous, bombastic - he wove into The Man Who Was Thursday. This page-turner sends characters bobbing around a delightfully confusing plot of mythic proportions.

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.

©2008 christianaudio.com

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  •  
    Erez Israel 06-11-10
    Erez Israel 06-11-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Indescribably good"

    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.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan Rither 03-23-11
    Alan Rither 03-23-11
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    "A perplexing story"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claire 04-09-12
    Claire 04-09-12
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    "Perfect narration brings a unique novel to life"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean 09-30-10
    Dean 09-30-10 Member Since 2009

    a Tech Exec who loves the stories about what could be and what should have been. Mixed with histories told from an outside perspective.

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    "My First Chesterton book...I will be back for more"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 10-03-10
    Jefferson 10-03-10 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More to the World than Meets the Eye"

    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.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MW Bychowski 06-15-15 Member Since 2014

    Ph.D Candidate of Medieval English Literature concentrating on transgender and disability. Writer on theology and the LGBT community.

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    "A brilliant author, excellent narrator, great book"
    If you could sum up The Man Who Was Thursday in three words, what would they be?

    Witty. Surprising. Existential.


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Mystery stories have so many different characters presenting themselves in varying degrees of truth, sincerity, and humor. Simon Vance captures the nuances of all that is said, unsaid, and mysterious in Chesterton's enigmatic writing.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Chesterton's writing is enthralling with his profound and witty mastery of language. I find myself returning to the Man Who Was Thursday time and time again for the perfect gems of rhetoric sprinkled throughout the story.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua 02-04-15
    Joshua 02-04-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Deeply Philosophical and demands a second read."

    This being my first Chesterton experience I simply couldn't put it down. He's Undeniably Witty!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Molly MACOMB, IL, United States 06-11-12
    Molly MACOMB, IL, United States 06-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "An interesting classic!"
    What made the experience of listening to Man Who was Thursday the most enjoyable?

    Simon Vance is an excellent reader. He differentiates characters beautifully and makes the story come alive.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Johnny Myerstown, PA, United States 11-11-09
    Johnny Myerstown, PA, United States 11-11-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Writing"

    G.K. Chesterton is a master of dialogue, intellect, and spirituality.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald 05-08-15
    Donald 05-08-15 Member Since 2012
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    "No Mystery"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If this story had a point, I missed it. I suppose it is a mystery novel, but lacks any mystery.
    Give me Father Brown any day.


    Would you ever listen to anything by G. K. Chesterton again?

    Yes, I've listened to a Father Brown mystery and liked it.


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I enjoy Simon Vance, but he couldn't make this story interesting.


    What character would you cut from The Man Who Was Thursday?

    Thursday


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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