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Publisher's Summary

This classic novel by the brilliant G. K. Chesterton tells the rollicking tale of Innocent Smith, a man who may be crazy - or possibly the most sane man of all. Arriving at a dreary London boarding house accompanied by a windstorm, Smith is an exuberant, eccentric, and sweet-natured man. Smith has a positive effect on the house - he creates his own court, brings a few couples together, and falls in love with a paid companion next door. All seems to be well with the world.

Then the unexpected happens: Smith shoots at one of the tenants, and two doctors arrive to arrest him, claiming that he's a bigamist, an attempted murderer, and a thief. But cynical writer Moon insists that the case be tried there - and they explore Smith's past history, revealing startling truths about what he does. Is he the wickedest man in Britain, or is he "blameless as a buttercup"?

Beautifully written, mixing the ridiculous with the profound, full of hilarious dialogue, and lushly detailed writing, Chesterton's main character Innocent Smith somehow manages to restore joy to all the dull and cynical lives around him. In this delightfully strange mystery, Chesterton demonstrates why life is worth living, and that sometimes we need a little madness just to know we are alive.

©1912; 2011 John Lane Company, NY; Ignatius Press (P)2010 Ignatius Press

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

Brilliant and delightful! G K Chesterton’s mind is wonderfully unique and imminently practical. “Apostle of Common Sense”, indeed!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed feelings on reading performance

For at least the first half hour of listening I was downright annoyed the way the reader was reading. To me it sounded too childish like he was reading to a kindergartner. Either I eventually got used to it or he toned it down because I didn't mind as much after a while. He did a very good job doing the voices of the characters though.

The story was classic Chesterton - fun, enjoyable, paradoxical, and intellectually stimulating. Worth the listen. However, unless you are a seasoned reader your likely to be confused about what's going on for the first chapter or two.

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Mind blowing. Paradoxical. Witty.

My first Chesterton book and it was amazing. Witty, loving, but hard hitting challenge to a pretentious age. Love the meta letter reading towards the end. Narrator was excellent doing an Irish accent, about 6 English accents, and one or two American accents.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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I have a headache

This is truly one of the most annoying books I have ever read or listened to. Don’t believe anyone who says otherwise. If you make it past “Puddles. Puddles. Puddles. Puddles. Puddles.” then you’re so much more tolerant of ridiculousness than I am. I am literally seething at this book and the performance is horrible. Shrieking. I’d really like my money back on this one.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful