The Meaning of Night: A Confession Hardcover – 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
For movie lovers - you might want to try Kind Hearts and Coronets (19490 starring Alec Guiness and Dennis Price which covers a lot of the same territory but with a lot more humour.
Who could stop reading after such an opening sentence? Cox's monumental novel is subtitled "A Confession," could it be that is taken care of on page 1? Not quite. "The Meaning Of Night" is a labyrinthian journey through mid 19th century England, from the dank brothel lined streets of London to the elegance of Evenwood, a luxurious country home. The story is told ala Dickens, rich with Victorian language and copious footnotes.
Our narrator is Edward Glyver who well remembers that the first word he ever heard used to describe him was "resourceful." He is that and more. As a youngster he was the victim of a plot executed by Phoebus Rainsford Daunt, a fellow schoolboy. Edward was dismissed and sent home. However, we're reminded that "revenge has a long memory;" in this case, some two decades.
As the tale evolves, both Edward and Phoebus are rivals again. Following the death of Edward's mother he has reason to believe that his parentage is not what he thought it to be. Lord Tansor, master of Evenwood, is childless and has yet to choose an heir. Could that heir be Edward? This is a prize that Phoebus also pursues - not with honor we might add as he's both poet and shyster.
Lord Tansor's cousin, the mysterious and beautiful Emily Carteret, is also a prize that both men would win.
"The Meaning of Night" is a weighty read (700 pages) and a virtuoso accomplishment by the author. Those who appreciate Victorian thrillers will find pleasure in every sentence.
- Gail Cooke
The trouble is, Cox goes off in many different directions. Too many directions. And a story that could have been short, succinct, and to the point quickly, ends up rambling on and on and on. The reader could easily miss the middle 200 pages or so and not skip a beat with the rest of the story or the plot.
Having said that, the story is intriguing. Anyone who is a fan of the historical fiction novel will certainly enjoy this book. Provided they don't mind reading 200+ pages of additional filler.
The novel flows at varied paces which adds to the entertainment. It is also varied as equal parts mystery, confession, and unrequited romance. The writing is both fluid and dense, I love his ongoing description of London as "the Great Leviathan, the never-sleeping monster in whose expanding coils I now dwelled." Another example is the author's Dickens-like description of one character, "You instantly saw a natural disposition towards goodness, his roundness seeming appropriately indicative of a corresponding completeness of character: that enviable, unaffected integration of feeling and temperament in which there is excess neither of preening self-regard nor impatience with the failings of others." And as good reading should provide, I learned new words and appreciated the author's use of translated Latin phrases.
Yet it is Edward Glyver's curious pursuit of Phoebus Daunt that intrigues. Is Daunt a true Moriarty? Or has Glyver found a clever excuse for his life's trials and tribulations? I invite you to find out - put on a fire, steep a tea or pour a scotch and settle into a tale not to be rushed.
Most recent customer reviews
The sheer size of this book I found a little daunting. But after a few pages I was hooked and the volume was no longer intimidating. Read morePublished on Oct. 19 2009 by temp
Michael Cox does a fantastic job with character development in his novel. Making the reader care for the characters is not an easy feat to accomplish, and I feel he has done well... Read morePublished on July 29 2008 by MAL
This is a wonderful, highly stylized work of historical fiction. Those with a penchant for Victorian literature will appreciate this book, as it is written in the style of the... Read morePublished on Sept. 24 2006 by lawyeraau
The singular product of a revivification of the best tradition of nineteenth century literature, The Meaning of Night tells an extraordinarily gripping tale of love, misfortune,... Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2006 by Daniel Jolley
At the start of "The Meaning of Night: A Confession," the narrator tells how he murdered a complete stranger, a red-haired man, and then head off to a favorite eating... Read morePublished on Sept. 3 2006 by Lawrance Bernabo
As the story opens, we step into the world of Victorian London and meet mysterious Edward Glyver, intellectual, book lover, and seeker of revenge. Read morePublished on Aug. 7 2006 by Kona