Perhaps the most light-hearted of all Chesterton's "serious" works, Manalive pits a group of disillusioned young people against Mr. Innocent Smith, a bubbly, high-spirited gentleman who literally falls into their midst. Accused of murder and denounced for repeatedly marrying his wife and attempting to live in various houses (all of which turn out to be his own), Smith prompts his newfound acquaintances to recognize an important idea: that life is worth living. Readers are bound to walk away from Manalive realizing the beauty of the birds, the sweet smell of the flowers and the delight of romantic love. Manalive is beautifully written with the rich descriptions befitting such a fine piece of art. Once again Chesterton mixes the ridiculous with the profound, and somehow, in the process of it all, has managed to restore the pure joy of living.
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October 26, 2009
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