The Man Who Was Thursday
“In what or whom is your hope?” asked Syme with curiosity.
”In a man I never saw,” said the other, looking at the leaden sea.
”I know what you mean,” said Syme in a low voice, “the man in the dark room. But Sunday must have killed him by now.”
”Perhaps,” said the other steadily; “but if so, he was the only man whom Sunday found it hard to kill.”
”I heard what you said,” said the Professor, with his back turned. “I also am holding hard on to the thing I never saw.”
For a long time all I knew about G. K. Chesterton was that he wrote the stories that were the basis of that late-80s Tom Bosley TV series, the one about the crime-solving Catholic priest involved in various small-town hijinks and/or kerfuffles, which as it turns out is not at all true. For starters, one was called Father Brown and the other Father Dowling, but as I'd never read the stories and never watched the show, you can perhaps see why I was confused, or are wondering why I bothered to think about any of this in the first place. Am I an idiot? No, I am a thinker. Try to keep up.
Anyway, people are always saying things like, "As Chesterton used to say..." which is one of those clubby, insider tics that really start to chafe after a while, so I decided to find out exactly what it was Chesterton was saying in order to likewise start ramming it down the throats of others. My gift to you! I skipped the Father Brown appetizer and went straight for the meat, which is, I believe, almost universally acknowledged to be The Man Who Was Thursday, and I ripped through that fucker in three short hours last night. I loved it: it has just the kind of long-winded, Baroque detail I can't resist and an undertow of menace and weirdness that you just know is leading somewhere horrible or, in this case, up a roller coaster, through a maze, down a rabbit hole, and across a river of chocolate. Metaphorically speaking. Actually the last five pages or so made zero sense to me, as I am blind to the divine light of "religious influence," but I believe it had something to do with unicorns.
Verdict: Many thumbs up!