The Man Who Was Thursday

The Man Who Was Thursday

A Nightmare

eBook - 2001
Average Rating:
Rate this:
G. K. Chesterton's surreal masterpiece is a psychological thriller that centers on seven anarchists in turn-of-the-century London who call themselves by the names of the days of the week. Chesterton explores the meanings of their disguised identities in what is a fascinating mystery and, ultimately, a spellbinding allegory. As Jonathan Lethem remarks in his Introduction, The real characters are the ideas. Chesterton's nutty agenda is really quite simple: to expose moral relativism and parlor nihilism for the devils he believes them to be. This wouldn't be interesting at all, though, if he didn't also show such passion for giving the devil his due. He animates the forces of chaos and anarchy with every ounce of imaginative verve and rhetorical force in his body.
Publisher: New York : Modern Library, 2001
ISBN: 9780307422019
Branch Call Number: EBOOK FIC CHESTER 2001
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Sep 16, 2018

If you like Chesterton's Father Brown stories or his Catholic essays you might like this phantasmagorical romp.
You have to wait until the end to find out what's going on and then re-read it to appreciate its brilliance.
Favorite quote: " He felt he was in possession of some impossible good news, which made every other thing a trviality, but an adorable trviality."

Mar 15, 2017

Wow! This book is just amazing! I thought one thing was true, and the exact opposite was the actual truth. This book made me think about society and judgment in a new way. Of course, there were also some very funny scenes with the detectives, but I shall say no more for fear of spoilers. I would recommend this book VERY highly for anyone who is looking for a thoughtful and thought-provoking story.

Jan 25, 2016

Not so much a nightmare as a pipe dream. The Man Who Was Thursday has some of the wit and 19th/early 20th century daring-do I have a weakness for. And, admittedly, anarchism was a legitimate fear at the time -- although given the year it was published (1908), it would have been more relevant to fear not future disorder, but present order. Chesterton's anarchists are a gallery of English conservative (to be fair, most of the population's) bugbears: the intellectual, the Jew, the scientist, the foreigner, the uppity working class man, (if I read him correctly) the homosexual, and above all, the atheist. More importantly, and what i would have thought was obvious at the time, Chesterton tries to have it both ways -- the anarchists are ruthless, well organized, and dangerous, AND amazingly stupid and credulous. If you want more story and less propaganda, try Joseph Conrad, Erskine Childers, or John Buchan.

KateHillier Apr 09, 2014

The snark in this book alone is worth the price of admission. Deadpan delivery, creative Edwardian insults and/or directives. It's great fun to read even if you don't particularly like the tale, though the tale itself is great fun.

A poet meets an anarchist in a park, the poet says the anarchist isn't a real anarchist and is then taken to an underground council of anarchists on the promise that the poet won't tell the police. After eliciting a similar promise from the anarchist, the poet reveals that he is actually a policeman and then proceeds to get himself elected to the council and inherits the title of "Thursday" - all of the council members are called by a day of the week and are led by Sunday.

The whole book is also strangely applicable today and the twist here may not surprise you but it will certainly remind you of a few things you may have read in the news over the past few years.

If you're into espionage, police fiction, philosophy (specifically 'philosopher policemen') you'll love this. It's a quick read so it'll be over before you know if but you'll still be thinking about it long afterwards.

Nov 11, 2012

a good and funny look at how the times aren't really changing.

thomasknowlton May 23, 2012

During July 2012, read & discuss this book online as part of Mystery Summer:


Add Age Suitability
Jan 25, 2017

claraep22 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SPL

To Top