The Napoleon of Notting Hill | G. K. Chesterton

Futurists fall into two categories: those who predict the collapse of civilization (Wells, Orwell, Atwood), and those who anticipate sunshine and lollipops (Kurzwiel, The Jetsons). Chesterton invented a new category. In 1904, he wrote a novel about a future eight decades later where everything remained the same. The only thing that increased was apathy.

The two main characters in the narrative represented two elements that make the world go ’round: extreme humor and extreme seriousness. Their interplay (especially in the last chapter) is fascinating.

This is one of Chesterton’s first novels. It’s not as polished as The Man Who Was Thursday or even The Club of Queer Trades. It is still well worth reading. There are quotable lines on almost every page that mark this as vintage Chesterton.

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