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The Man Who Was Thursday

Author G.K. Chesterton
Narrator Simon Vance
Runtime 6 Hrs. - Unabridged
Publisher christianaudio
Downloads ZIP MP3
Release Date May 17, 2005
Availability: Unrestricted (available worldwide)

This page-turner sends characters bobbing around a delightfully confusing plot of mythic proportions. There are so many twists and turns that soon you’ll be tangled in a story that you cannot put down...even if you’re not entirely sure why!

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All that G. K. Chesterton’s critics and comrades 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. There are so many twists and turns that soon you’ll be tangled in a story that you cannot put down...even if you’re not entirely sure why!

The Man Who Was Thursday 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 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 unanswerable in the presence of Sunday. He is wholly other. He is
above the timeless questions of humanity and also somehow behind them.

G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London. He matured into one of the great journalists, philosophers, novelists, and personalities of the twentieth century. Chesterton offered inspiration to many others, including his fellow Brit C. S. Lewis. His much-loved works include The Everlasting Man, Saint Francis of Assisi, Orthodoxy, and the Father Brown series of mystery novels.

Customer Reviews

6 Reviews Add Review
So much to love!
Whoa. What did I just read?

I'm kind of amazed by this book. First of all, the writing is excellent. I love Chesterton's style and his descriptions are vivid and captivating. One of the characters describes himself as, "coward enough to fear great force, but not coward enough to admire it." The uncanny psychological depth he wrote into the characters was beautiful and very engaging. His descriptions of the events were also so very interesting and creative. Setting the tense, dramatic scene of a duel, the author writes,

"Early as was the hour, the sun soaked everything in warmth, and Syme was vaguely surprised to see so many spring flowers burning gold and silver in the tall grass in which the whole company stood almost knee-deep. With the exception of the Marquis, all the men were in sombre and solemn morning-dress, with hats like black chimney-pots; the little Doctor especially, with the addition of his black spectacles, looked like an undertaker in a farce. Syme could not help feeling a comic contrast between this funereal church parade of apparel and the rich and glistening meadow, growing wild flowers everywhere. But, indeed, this comic contrast between the yellow blossoms and the black hats was but a symbol of the tragic contrast between the yellow blossoms and the black business."

Not only are his descriptions wonderful, but he is able to write the action with suspense and movement that feels very natural and very compelling. I don't read a lot of fiction, but, even so, it's been quite awhile since I felt truly drawn in and eager to continue like I did while reading this book. The scenes are described in such detail that I feel like I watched a movie.

What’s interesting about this book is that I don’t really know what it’s about. It’s referred to as a nightmare by the author in his subtitle and you really do get that sense of the bizarre in this book. It’s actually pretty remarkable how well he captures the connected, yet random, stream of consciousness feel that a dream has. On top of that, the allegorical nature of the book still has me processing what I read. The spiritual themes and vocabulary will lend itself to many interesting interpretations. I found this article an interesting commentary of it. I look forward to what my book club comes up with. Will update.

I listened to this on audiobook (only six hours long) and, unlike others I have recently listened to, I actually felt that the narrator's performance richly enhanced the writing. The reader, Simon Vance, does a great job with the narration and the voices of each character. It definitely helped me track with the many roles and helped to set the mood making it really enjoyable to listen to. His pace is even and his tone matches the events. I'm adding him to my list of favorite narrators.

It feels weird to rate something so highly that I’m not sure I even understand, but I loved the writing, loved the narration and loved the mental stimulation and, understand it or not, the conclusion felt strangely emotional. Will definitely read this again.
Review by / (Posted on 8/1/2018)
I have heard many positive reviews...
I have heard many positive reviews of Chesterton\'s writing and thought to try my teeth on this book. I must say that despite the glowing accolades his books have received, I wish someone had told me that characters in this book are constantly swearing and taking the Lord\'s name in vain. Multiple times each chapter Chesterton makes use of corrupt language or a mocking use of sober words such as \"damn\" and \"hell\". Ephesians 5:3-7 says plainly that such loose use of corrupt speech is not befitting the hearts or lips of God\'s representatives. We should not make light, even in our fiction, of God\'s holiness.

I realize that we don\'t live in a Thomas Kinkade painting, so to speak. All around us people swear, mock, and take the Lord\'s name in vain. They make jokes of hell and damnation, while some of their relatives likely burn there. This is a cause for mourning, not excusing ourselves. Just because the world has a style, we should not feel obligated to follow it. 1 Peter 4:3-6

Finally, though Chesterton was a marvelous stylist and his work is deep in many ways, I am grieved and warn others about what appears his looseness and lightness with regards to his tongue.
Review by / (Posted on 4/9/2008)
This is an excellent book! I...
This is an excellent book! I greatly enjoyed it, and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys very well written classic fiction. I consider it a great choice for an audiobook, as I intend to listen to it again and again in the future--a book to return to, more than once.

This Hovel Audio edition is nearly perfect; the reader does a tremendously impressive and pleasing job of conveying the personalities, mannerisms, and varied national and regional accents of all of the characters, even as they evolve and change completely. It helps considerably towards keeping them all straight in an audio format.

I would suggest that the chapters be marked within the audio files for skipping forward or backward in one's iPod, but this is not a very major matter. (I think also that the very talented and capable reader might also confuse slightly the accents of some of the characters occasionally for just a few brief moments here and there later on in the book, but certainly not enough to be bothered or confused by.)

The book is a mystery, filled with many plot twists--none of the characters are ever what you think from the start! The plot will leave you guessing, and the finale will leave you delightfully surprised, and wanting to listen through again immediately, to follow the plot again with greater understanding of the reality of the situation!

A strangely very engaging story, full of interesting dialogue, rich with highly intelligent philosophy, beautiful and apt descriptions, entertaining and likable characters (including some you love to pity or dislike, at least temporarily), wonderful settings, great chapter divisions, astute observations and philosophical assertions, with strange and surprising allegorical twists. Also with some very impacting (and rewarding) theological points and perspectives at the end.

Overall, a delightful and worthy audiobook!

(I hadn't read any fiction in years, and this book has finally sparked a return to it for me. I so enjoyed the execution of this story, and the satisfaction and benefit I gained from it, that I have since gone back and scoured my bookshelf, ChristianAudio's website, and the bookstore for more like this! And this was a free monthly download from Thank you Christian Audio! I love and appreciate your site.)
Review by / (Posted on 1/11/2007)
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