Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Book Look: The Man Who Was Thursday

Book Look: The Man Who Was Thursday: Let me start by recommending, where you can download public domain audiobooks. Yes, that's right -- free audiobooks. Virtually all the works available are old, because they need to be out of copyright -- 1930-ish is about as contemporary as they get. But that's OK, it's good for you to realize that the world you live in is nothing all that new. The readings are all done by kindhearted volunteers, but the ones I've heard are all very polished. They are in .mp3 format so you can listen on you Zune music player, awesome eh?

From Librivox I downloaded The Man Who Was Thursday an oddly spiritual classic from 1908 by G.K. Chesterson. It starts out as if it were going to be a standard mystery -- a Scotland Yard operative makes contact with an anarchist (the terrorist sect of the day) and insinuates himself in what appears to be some sort of high level Anarchist organization.

Things then start to get peculiar. A long, and at times quite comic, pursuit of the leader of the anarchists reveals enemies to actually be friends. The final chase of the anarchist leader takes the story into the realm of the surreal, eventually revealing the anarchist leader to also be the leader of his pursuers, with the apparent intent to have him symbolize God. Allegory upon allegory.

Written in vivid Edwardian prose, with a heavy dose of alliteration, The Man Who Was Thursday ends up resembling something like an Arthurian adventure, wherein a group of stalwarts pursue what seems to be a concrete result and end up with a spiritual elevation. A strange, thoughtful, imaginative story and a rewarding read.

Or a rewarding listen in my case.