The Man Who Was Thursday

By G.K. Chesterton,

Book cover of The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare

Book description

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…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

5 authors picked The Man Who Was Thursday as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

A cult novel from the early twentieth century, beloved of everyone from C.S. Lewis to Neil Gaiman to literally Kafka.

It starts at a peaceful suburban garden party, then plunges us into the secret anarchist conspiracy to bring down civilization, and the equally secret police force dedicated to stopping them. Duels, disguises, and mind-blowing revelations ensue, with writing just packed with Edwardian-era wit and charm.

From Austin's list on set in alternate histories.

If Lewis’ Till We Have Faces is a deeply buried metaphor for religious experience, The Man Who Was Thursday requires an excavator to unearth. Both books explain their metaphors in the final pages, but Thursday does this much less clearly. Unless you’re pretty familiar with Christianity, you’re probably gonna miss it. But what a wonderful surprise to get to the end of this strange story and realize that Chesterton was sneakily describing the sneakiness of God’s beauty, just like Lewis did.

Scotland Yard detective Gabriel Syme is charged with infiltrating a network of violent anarchists, which (rumor has it) is led by a mysterious arch villain known as ‘Sunday’. Syme serendipitously finds himself elected to the anarchists’ high council, and a kind of whimsical journey into the heart of darkness begins.

Chesterton’s book presents what is good as those things opposed to anarchy, e.g. order, justice, common decency…Syme stands for all of them. The further he infiltrates the anarchists’ society, though, the more his sense of the good is shaken. By the end it seems as though all of England has…

StairWell

By James Sale,

Book cover of StairWell

James Sale Author Of StairWell

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Poet Entrepreneur Consultant Innovator

James' 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

StairWell is the second volume of The English Cantos, where the Poet leaves the confines of Hell’s hospital ward and enters Purgatory. Following in the footsteps of Dante Alighieri, the Poet must climb the staircase to the Chapel of St. Luke, at once a real place of solace and sacredness in the midst of the blighted hospital, but also a metaphysical plane, accessible only to those who may pass the trials and tribulations of the purgatorial ascent.

On the journey, the Poet will meet figures both from his personal life, and those more well known, all fighting their own battles of self-improvement.

Combining deep psychology with the fantastical grandeur of an Arthurian legend, StairWell explores the fragility and wickedness of the human condition balanced with the transformational powers of Hope and Faith.

StairWell

By James Sale,

What is this book about?

From the misery of Hell’s corrupted wards, to the mountain of personal transcendence…

StairWell is the second volume of The English Cantos, where the Poet leaves the confines of Hell’s hospital ward and enters Purgatory. Following in the footsteps of Dante Alighieri, the Poet must climb the staircase to the Chapel of St. Luke, at once a real place of solace and sacredness in the midst of the blighted hospital, but also a metaphysical plane, accessible only to those who may pass the trials and tribulations of the purgatorial ascent.

On the journey, the Poet will meet figures both from…


In college, my friend David Michelson introduced me to many new authors, including G. K. Chesterton (best known for his Father Brown mysteries), who mixed philosophy and humor in his fiction. 

My favorite of his works is The Man Who Was Thursday, first published in 1908—a madcap, surreal romp through London, where undercover police are battling bomb-throwing anarchists and nothing is as it seems. 

On a long car trip, I recently listened to the audiobook of Thursday as performed by Nigel Peever, and laughed and thrilled all over again. 

From Sam's list on seriously funny novels.

The Man Who Was Thursday is a political thriller of the type that was common in the early 20th Century, much like The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Count Of Monte Cristo. The hero is a young man recruited to infiltrate an organization of anarchists that is dedicated to sowing chaos in the already unstable European monarchies. The Weird nature of the main antagonist increases the danger and the sense of paranoia that drives the story. What if the criminal mastermind you're pursuing really is something more than human?

Want books like The Man Who Was Thursday?

Our community of 10,000+ authors has personally recommended 56 books like The Man Who Was Thursday.

Browse books like The Man Who Was Thursday

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in police, anarchism, and London?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about police, anarchism, and London.

Police Explore 229 books about police
Anarchism Explore 35 books about anarchism
London Explore 796 books about London