Review: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

Can you trust yourself when you don’t know who you are? Syme uses his new acquaintance to go undercover in Europe’s Central Anarchist Council and infiltrate their deadly mission, even managing to have himself voted to the position of ‘Thursday’. In a park in London, secret policeman Gabriel Syme strikes up a conversation with an anarchist.

Sworn to do his duty, when Syme discovers another undercover policeman on the Council, however, he starts to question his role in their operations. And as a desperate chase across Europe begins, his confusion grows, as well as his confidence in his ability to outwit his enemies. But he has still to face the greatest terror that the Council has – its leader: a man named Sunday, whose true nature is worse than Syme could ever have imagined…


The reason I picked up The Man Who Was Thursday was because of the title, what a long and interesting title I thought. The reason I kept reading it was because of the characters and G.K. Chesterton’s interesting use of words and ides. The reason I finished it? In all honesty, I still haven’t figured that out.

The Man Who Was Thursday is not what I was expecting and it didn’t end how I expect. For me it didn’t really have a conclusion, but even though that would normally annoy me because I feel that even non conclusion stories have one most of the time, it didn’t annoy me in this case. There was a conclusion to the plot, but there wasn’t a conclusion to what was really between the lines, at least for me, and I still can’t quite decide how I feel about the novel itself because of it.

On the surface alone it is an interesting tale. I love it because it is anarchists against the law and the anarchists are named after the seven days of the week. From there it follows the character Syme who wishes to find out more and stop the anarchist’s plan. This all in itself is intriguing enough with what ensues, with the character’s conversations and arguments, how distinctly the characters are written, their ideas. It really was all enough to draw me in and keep me reading, yet about half way or not even that, it started to become very predictable even when it was being unpredictable. And towards the end it started to feel out of control, not necessarily losing the story itself, but just not entirely fathomable. I can’t completely explain it.

Although the ending had me going ‘ooook’, the predictability had me shaking my head a little, and there’s a very abrupt religious change to it, I still wish to read more of Chesterton’s work. He opens with a poem which I loved the eloquence of and Syme is such a smart arse as far as characters go that I would like to see what other characters Chesterton has created.

Most of all, I just want to see how much more out there Chesterton is. Is this a one off or was he a writer who defied convention consistently? This line of questioning is what makes me enjoy Chesterton even when I can’t make heads nor tale of what the point was.

  • Genre: Classic Literature/Crime Mystery/Allegory
  • Demographic: Classic Literature lovers
  • Reminds Me Of: Bram Stoker in the Lair of The White Worm sense because that was a little nuts.
  • Rating Out of Five: 3 1/2
  • Challenges: Century Challenge

3 thoughts on “Review: The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton

  1. Boy oh boy did I ever hate this novel. I read it forwards. I read it backwards. I read it upside down and in the dark. I’m no dummy but try as I might, I simply could not make heads or tails of what Chesterton was trying to convey. The title, however is aces!


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