(Author: G.K. Chesterton) + (Year: 1908) + (Goodreads)
BEHOLD… “The Man Who Was High“. Once you’ve read this book, you’ll know. My boyfriend, with whom I buddy-read it, and I discussed the topic and settled on opium (because it was written on the pre-LSD times). In a nutshell:
“The Marquis had taken off his nose and turned out to be a detective.”
That is to say, I did enjoy this book. The rating here is very subjective and it was calculated on the basis of how much I enjoyed it vs. how much it has influenced me and whether it did anything to… I don’t know, inspire me or change my life. (That it did not do.)
But it was very fun overall. While it was not exactly a “locked-room” mystery per se, it did have a certain quality to it which is reminiscent of those – at least as far as finding the “guy” (ugh, not spoiling you guys is hard) goes.
The book starts with a bang! – the reader is lured into the strange, dreamlike atmosphere from the very first chapter and the pace only picks up from there. No episode drags out and all of the action is fast and neat, not at all messy and confusing. However, at one point I think that same thing played a bad joke on the author, because in his attempt to set the ground for the following events in a timely manner, he gave out the biggest plot devices and basically revealed the majority of the events which occur until the end of the book. And since there were only two options for the ending itself, one of them being that Chesterton is doing drugs, the other one being a combination of that and a spoiler which I will not tell, it was easy to guess how the book ends.
Nevertheless, it was interesting for me to follow how the events which I had already foreseen would unfold. That’s basically why I don’t particularly hate spoilers – if I do know what’s about to happen, at least I can enjoy seeing how it happens. Which was exactly what happened with The Man Who Was Thursday. And what I feel might also happen to you.
In case you want to go deeper with the topic, it’s also a very interesting representation of how any type relation between a miscreant, “terrorist” organization and the police/army/agencies might work. We’ve already seen some fantastic stories of the “spy trying to find the spy trying to find the spy”. And at the same time, The Man Who Was Thursday also says a lot about values, beliefs and the looking for the fault in someone else/in yourself duality.
If I have not convinced you to read this book yet, consider the fact that it’s very short, very strange and immensely funny at moments. If you do read it and do not like it, blame them anarchists.