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Man Who Was Thursday, The

by G.K. Chesterton

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Nowhere is the genius of G. K. Chesterton more on display than in The Man Who Was Thursday, a book that begins as a tale of anarchists and police agents, descends into absurdity and humor, and then soars to the level of the holy. Chesterton adopts a genre that was quite popular in his day—the political thriller, as popularized by Joseph Conrad—and uses it to point at the mystery that underlies all of reality.

Reading The Man Who Was Thursday, you will laugh out loud. You will also stop and scratch your head. There will be moments when you are convinced more is happening on the page than you can possibly comprehend—and you will be right! Chesterton wrote extensively (and with refreshing lucidity) on theological subjects, and when he turned his hand to fiction those concerns remained in the forefront. But he treats them with such a light touch that readers of every creed are apt to be fascinated.

It is difficult to praise The Man Who Was Thursday too highly, because it manages to do something so many Christian novels fail to achieve: to tell a thoroughly Christian story without a hint of moralism. The tale is rollicking fun, and it ends with a sense of transcendent awe. When people ask me what the Christian novel is capable of being, I always point to The Man Who Was Thursday as a supreme example.

by J. Mark Bertrand