I finished reading G.K. Chesterton’s “The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare” I loved it and here is a short plot preview (with no spoilers) and a few observations.
It rotates about the adventures of one Mr. Syme in London at the turn of the twentieth century. It was a time when dynamite was the bomb and the anarchists were the axis of evil. It starts by following Syme’s steps into the anarchist underground and it is mainly built on the characters he meets, who are very charismatic, symbolic, and surreal.
Especially the dreadful yet cheerful Sunday, which funnily enough has a very ubtiqous role in Chesterston’s novel. He is the driving force of the whole while always remaining hidden. His actions are as clear as it can be, yet his motives and thoughts are nothing less than mysteriously opaque. Deciphering his motives and plans throughout the book is pure suspense by itself. He is seen as a child, a clown, a beast, a landscape, even sometimes as imaginary yet at the same time he is unknown -in one word, an enigma.
The book is also full of discussions of philosophical viewpoints on various issues. Through the characters, I met a “nihilist” (at the least the closest thing to a nihilist), a poet, a scientist, a philosopher, a child, lots and lots of impostors and of course the fallen angel himself, the prince of darkness, Satan. The ending is very original and it is nice that it concludes semi-epically yet with glamour and direction(s) for thought. I must tell though that some of the philosophical issues the novel goes through might seem just too old or plainly silly today.
It is definitely an enjoyable read, even if you don’t find its basic philosophical showcase too interesting , the beautiful writing and plot progress creates a wonderful atmosphere of another time to escape to.
For a while.
It is nice if you don’t get dizzy time traveling.