The Man Who Was ThursdayThe Man Who Was Thursday
Year: 1908
Author: G.K. Chesterton
Length: 355 minutes / 5.92 hours

On the surface, The Man Who Was Thursday has all the markings of a witty thriller satire. Unfortunately, as the subtitle of this work is “A Nightmare,” things don’t necessarily stay coherent to the end. It’s not that The Man Who Was Thursday is terrible, but rather that it loses focus and becomes absurd the longer it continues. And perhaps that’s the greatest tragedy of this book: that it could have been a solid story if it didn’t devolve into a nightmare at the end.

I certainly liked plenty of aspects of the early parts of this book. Infiltrating an anarchist society with day-of-the-week codenames. The revelation that few members of said society were actually who they said they were. The conspiracy and twists as the protagonists and antagonists get flipped on their heads. Of course, this last bit is when things started going downhill. Perhaps it’s that odd British humor that influenced the weird bits, but the story probably could have done without all the randomness near the end. In fact, making the whole thing into a nightmare lessens the overall impact of the story, since there is doubt that any of it happened at all.

I’m sure that books like The Man Who Was Thursday require extensive footnotes and analysis to understand. I’m sure this book is assigned to English classes as an example of deep and thoughtful prose. The problem is that I’m mainly reading for entertainment. I don’t have the time to sit down and pore over all the analysis of a book like this. For my money, I think I’ll stick to the James Bond series for spies with code names infiltrating secret societies. At least then, I know the result is closer to reality than whatever this book contains.

A weird book that could have been an excellent thriller satire, I give The Man Who Was Thursday 3.0 stars out of 5.

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