The Man Who Was Thursday, by G. K. Chesterton

If anyone claims that a book is bad or good simply on account of its subject matter, have them read this one. From the plot descriptions you might expect a John Grisham type of thriller. All action. Spies, chases, suspense. Yes, The Man Who Was Thursday is all that, too. But it more importantly has a philosophical message conveyed through an exquisitely thought out vision and metaphor. And it’s ultimately a brilliant word play, a text whose language accommodates ambiguity in an intelligent and powerful way. From a spy war we get to the motif of the world upside-down, where the good and the evil switch masks, all the way to the Genesis and to the principle of the universal good and meaningfulness. And just when the masks are discarded and the ultimate truths are revealed, when the going gets too deep, the author pulverizes everything by having his hero “wake up”: it’s been all but a dream within a dream, a fantasy – a joke. Back to “reality”… or is it?

Once you take it up, you can’t let it down. Readers of lightweight literature will get their kick. “Serious” readers will find their meanings and multiple levels of interpretation. A book for every taste, for every reader. What can one ask for more?

The Man Who Was Thursday (Penguin English Library)


 

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