Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Manalive by G.K. Chesterton - Review

I just finished reading Manalive by G. K. Chesterton a few weeks ago.  It wasn't until about a month ago that I learned that G.K. Chesterton wrote fiction.  To be honest, I didn't know much about Chesterton, but I always thought that his writing was limited to books like Orthodoxy and Heretics.  When I purchased my Kindle, I started looking at the free books on Amazon, that's when I found there was a broader scope to his writing.  I wasn't sure where to start, so I picked the first one that I saw and added it to my kindle.

Because I wasn't sure of the exact genre of Manalive, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect as I began to read this book. It kept me on my toes as it brought new little surprises and twists as the story began to unfold.

It is about a man who is, well, alive.  He has become, in many ways, like a child.  You first meet the main character chasing a hat and climbing a tree.  He expounds on the need for more hat-chasing type games in life.  The more you learn of the character, the more unsure you become as to whether he is insane, or the most sane of the bunch.  The rest of the entourage of characters come to either love him or completely misunderstand him by taking his actions in the most straight-forward and sensible way.

I really liked this book.  I think that I would've liked it better if I had known what to expect, but my unsurety as to the focus of the story kept me wondering at some potential scifi or fantasy tie-ins.  It had neither, and ended up being more akin to an allegorical tale than to anything else.

I recommend this to anyone that is looking for a good piece of reading.  I don't want to give anything away, but the reality of death is one of the factors that stirs up life in this book.  If you are looking for a book that isn't too heavy, but also isn't too light and you would also like to get a taste of Chesterton's writing, then this is the book for you.

From the links above, you can get the paperback book through Amazon, but you can also find the kindle version for free.


  1. Hi Matt, I just finished reading this book on your recommendation. Not my first GK, but a pretty good example of his style of writing.

    You might also enjoy his Father Brown books, which have similar types of twists to them, but are kind of like Sherlock Holms, where the main character solves a crime/murder in each chapter of the book because of his knowledge of the darkness of mens' souls.

    Anyway, thanks for the book recommendation.

    1. I've been thinking about reading a few of those, but hadn't gotten around to it yet.


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