Spend a Weekend with The Man Who Was Thursday


imageThe Man Who Was Thursday

Author: G. K. Chesterton
Publisher: Originally Published in 1908
Pages: 136
Genre: Metaphysical Thriller

Sometimes a book will fall figuratively in your lap. My “To Read” list on Goodreads  is growing faster than my “Finished” list.  At some point I added G. K. Chesterton’s masterpiece – The Man Who Was Thursday – to the list, but I don’t recall why. Regardless, I was obviously in the mood for reading some early 20th century metaphysical literature chock full of allegory, metaphors, anarchists and sublime characters. (Don’t we all get that urge from time to time???)

Published in 1908, The Man Who Was Thursday begins with two men, Gabriel Syme ( a poet who believes in law and order) and Lucian Gregory, (a poet and anarchist) meeting in a garden during a party. After a lengthy discussion as to whether Man should be ruled by laws or have free will to rage against the machine, Gabriel accuses Lucian of not being a “real anarchist”. Lucian counters by inviting Gabriel to a secret meeting of anarchists to prove him wrong. At this meeting Lucian is hoping to be elected to the Supreme Council of Anarchists as “Thursday”, one of seven men on the council, each named for a day of the week. The Council, lead by the man named Sunday, is planning to carry through with a planned assassination/bombing.

What transpires next is a humorous, witty, frightening, and often philosophical look at the state of man, war, peace, God, and social order to finally reveal that nothing is as it seems.

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C. K. Chesterton

Did I mention that the subtitle of the novel is: A Nightmare? That’s because many of the thematic discussions of the novel are pretty relevant today. Some things never change.

For fans of Christian allegory or C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Papers, this novel will please you to no end. For fans of thought-provoking philosophical discussions that will leave you endlessly pondering the book’s meaning, this will please you to no end.

Chesterton employs subtle and not-so-subtle metaphors that leave you guessing his ultimate goal for the novel. It’s apparent right from the start: Gabriel = Law & Order.  Lucian = anarchy/Free-will. Both meeting in A Garden. (I mean, c’mon!) The other members of the Council: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday et all, represent the burning questions of the time: Pessimism or optimism of Modernity; the benefits of scientific materialism; etc. And who is Sunday, the mysterious man who leads the council?

But if you think it’s just that easy, it’s not. There are enough twists and turn, colorful characters and beautiful banter that make this Nightmare a wonderful experience. This is one of those books where you will be looking up words, highlighting passages and writing notes in the margins.

Rare and wonderful is the novel that comes along that, after reading the last word, instantly bestows upon you the desire to read it again. The Man Who Was Thursday is just such a novel.

While some of the events and situations may seem out of date, the novel will certainly provoke further discussion. Want to have fun? Suggest this for your next Book Club read and watch the sparks fly….

Download or order your copy by CLICKING HERE!

5 out of 5 Stars

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Enter to Win a Free Copy of The Patron Murders!

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Welcome to my tour stop for The Patron Murders by Edwin Wilson.  The Patron Murders is a mystery and the tour runs March 1-11 with reviews, guest posts, interviews and excerpts. Check out the tour page for the full schedule. Stick around to the end to enter a drawing for a free gift card or a free copy of The Patron Murders!

About The Book:

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Matt Johanssen, a dedicated stage actor in his early fifties, is currently rehearsing a play soon to open on Broadway. Through the years Matt, in addition to his work in the theatre, has also anonymously assisted the NYPD in solving a number of crimes.

While he is in rehearsals, thirty blocks away a startling murder takes place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where a trustee is discovered on the roof of the Museum with a javelin thrust through his heart. The dramatic nature of the crime reverberates through cultural circles in Manhattan. A few days later, during a rehearsal of Matt’s Broadway-bound play, the admired, beloved lady producer of the play is found dead in the darkened basement lounge of the theatre.

Ten days later, during a gala at the American Museum of Natural History, there is another murder of a museum trustee, this one far more sensational than the one before. Working behind the scenes Matt becomes deeply involved in solving all three murders. Meanwhile, he encounters an intriguing, auburn haired woman writing about the murders, with whom he becomes involved.

Set against a background of the inner workings of the theatre, as well as the arts and cultural scenes in New York City, The Patron Murders is part detective story, part social novel, and part a witty, incisive critique of the relationship of recently acquired fortunes to the old-line arts establishments of the City.

The Review:

I confess I’m pretty particular about what I read when it comes to the Mystery genre.  Nowadays, mystery series it seems, more than other genres, each have to have some sort of distinctive setting (dare I say gimic?) where their stories take place. Some are centered around bakeries, others around cats or shopping. Me? I’m partial to mystery novels either set in Key West, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or  mix genres (like the Fantasy/Mystery Dresden Files Series)– Which is to say I don’t read many mystery novels.

When asked to review a tale centered around the arts and cultural scene in New York City, my curiosity was instantly engaged. Better yet, having it written by an author with a long history of involvement in the New York theatre and cultural scene made the decision to review this very easy.

The Patron Murders is a well written and engrossing page turner. There is a perfect blend of witty dialogue, social critique and memorable characters.  Our hero, Matt Johannsen is not a detective; he’s merely in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right person at the wrong time. Take your pick.

Edwin Wilson’s debut novel is a riveting tale and an in-depth personal look at the world of the theatre and artistic patronage. Wilson’s long career lends a sense of gravitas to his writing, almost as if he were actually telling a captivating tale of non-fictional events. As someone who has worked intimately in the world of cultural institutions, I particularly enjoyed his deep dive into the role of the donors or patrons. Are they truly altruistic or do they give to elevate their own status in society? (It’s a question I often ask myself…) Board members…Don’t get me started!

Ah, if only the lives of all cultural organization employees were so full of excitement and thrilling events!

At any rate, you will do well to pick up The Patron Murders, a fascinating and enthralling tale of murder by Edwin Wilson. Click Here to get your copy.

4 stars out of 5

About The Author:

Author, teacher, critic, Edwin Wilson began his career as Assistant to the Producer for the Broadway play Big Fish, Little Fish directed by John Gielgud, and the film Lord of the Flies directed by Peter Brook. He later co-produced the Broadway play Agatha Sue, I Love You, directed by George Abbott and produced the film The Nashville Sound. From 1972 to 1994 he was the theatre critic for The Wall Street Journal.Over the past four decades his three college theatre textbooks have appeared in a total of 28 editions while selling over one million copies. At one time president of the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Theatre Development Fund, he was also Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Drama Jury. The Patron Murders is Wilson’s first novel.

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GIVEAWAY:
$15 Amazon gift card (INT)
5 hardcover copies of The Patron Murders (US)
5 ebook copies of The Patron Murders (INT)
Ends March 16
This giveaway is provided by the publisher, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

 

Click HERE to ENTER!

This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.

 

A Short Review for The Grownup

The Grownup

imageAuthor: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown (November 2015)
Pages 64
Website: Gillian-flynn.com
Twitter: gillianflynn

This will not be a very long review. The Grownup is actually not a very long novel.

64 Pages. Give or take. I think the actual story started on page 6, (9% through the novel) so…that happened.

I could attempt to give you a rundown on this mini-thriller’s plot, setting, themes and characters. However, if I did, it would spoil about 1/3 of the length of the actual novel. A common rule I have: reviews should not be longer than the actual novel. To avoid actually giving away too much of this very short story that you’ll probably pay anywhere between $12 for the hard cover and $2.99 for the Kindle version for, I will just say the following:

Do you like ghost stories?

Did you like reading any of the other novels Gillian Flynn wrote, including the hugely famous, suspenseful and successful Gone Girl?

Do you like Flynn’s first person writing style, her fast paced storytelling and how she keeps readers guessing and second-guessing with twists and red herrings?

Do you like George R. R. Martin…you know, the guy who’s famous for the extremely long winded, 1,000 page tomes that make up the Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) series? (He asked Flynn to write him a story. This is that story.)

Do you like reading a full novel (or more appropriately a Novella) in about an hour and a half (leaving time to stop, grab a pop, go let the dog out and check Facebook for any messages)?

Are you trying to finish up a Goodreads Reading Challenge and need just one more book?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then read The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. It’s a fun, thrilling tale. My only complaint is that it could have been longer. There was enough good material here for a full length novel. The ending felt rushed and vague. Ok, that’s actually a couple of complaints.

Addendum #1: If you are planning to read this novel on a three or four hour flight across the country, you’d better bring another book.

Addendum #2: I received a free copy of this book from BloggingForBooks.com in exchange for a fair and honest review. That said, I’m glad I didn’t pay $12 for the mini-book format of this novella.

As short stories or novellas go, The Grownup is a good 4 out of 5 stars.

To purchase a copy of The Grownup by Gillian Flynn, CLICK HERE.