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The Meaning of Night: A Confession Paperback – October 17, 2007
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The book starts with a 2-page teaser in which the confessor describes how he killed a man, an unknown man he happened to encounter on the street. Why? Because the writer of this confession needed to ensure that he was indeed capable of killing before continuing with his plan of exacting revenge over "his enemy".
The confession then jumps back to the 1820's, with the writer slowly but surely describing the complicated set of circumstances, the conspiracies against him, that brought him to the killing of the random man in 1854. Then the story continues to its inevitable climax.
The early Victorian era in England provides the background for the story. Morals were different in this age, with the rich and powerful having a very different concept of what was right and wrong than the common people, or the people of Western society today for that matter. Even the "good" people in the story (there are a few) sometimes act in ways we find disappointing, even though they were acting morally by their standards.
This Victorian background and especially the different moral standards play an important role in the story, and one feels that the atmosphere described in the book is very authentic. It's just depressing that everyone seems to be a villain in one way or another, and conspiracies are rampant.
The writer of the confession and the complicated story with several conspiracies against him and his decision to wreak a terrible revenge on "his enemy" do not come across with such a high degree of believability.Read more ›
The story is framed as the account by a murderer of his quest for vengeance on the man who cheated him of his hopes and his rightful heritage. It is set in Victorian England, partly in seedy London, partly in the rural grandeur that surrounds the most venerable English aristocracy. This is a promising formula -- Sherlock Holmes and Dr Jekyll have never lost their fascination. However it takes skill to recreate the atmosphere convincingly in the 21st century, and Michael Cox, biographer and editor of the great ghost-story writer M R James, seems to me never to hit a wrong note. The narrative is tense and eventful, but it's all slightly tongue-in-cheek too (as James himself was), and rightly so. The manuscript purports to have come to light in Cambridge University Library, and there is a preface by a personage entitled the Professor of Post-Authentic Victorian Fiction at that seat of learning, together with footnotes as the story goes along. The Professor hints darkly at 'conscienceless brutality and explicit sexuality', but don't get your hopes too high if that's your kind of thing - what the Professor says is not wrong, but what you will find is not exactly what his phraseology might lead one to expect either.
The style of writing is very sure-footed in not overdoing the pastiche-Victorian idiom. It is kept at a nicely-judged level of suggestiveness, but you would never take it for 19th century writing. One incidental benefit of this is that when letters are quoted and Cox goes in for a more explicit attempt at reproducing the Victorian manner of expression the contrast is all the more effective.Read more ›
The manuscript purports to be a confession of sorts, as it tells a story of friendship, betrayal, and revenge, revealing a secret that had a profound impact on those whose lives it touched. After reading just the first sentence, I was hooked, as the story begins with a cold-blooded murder. Set in Victorian England, the story is told by an Edward Glyver, who is seeking to avenge himself on Phoebus Rainsford Daunt, a childhood friend whom he met while they were students at Eton. While at Eton, a wrong was done to Edward that would mark him forevermore.
The book offers a myriad of interesting characters and relationships that shaped Edward Glyver. The book is also rife with intrigues, coincidences, and secrets that deliciously unfold bit by bit, drawing the reader into the spider web of deceit that surrounds Edward Glyver, deceits that he is discovering and trying to unravel. The forces of good and evil are at work here, but who is good and who is evil is left for the discerning reader to determine, although such a determination is not always so black and white.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At over 700 pages, this is a colossal waste of time. Good at describing fog and church steeples, this book is full of ambiance and bereft of substance. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Author of Eudemonia
The author attempts to emulate Dickens, but doesn't quite nail it. There is good work here,but the outcome of a mystery shouldn't be apparent to the reader 500 pages in advance. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Arwen
The story was a little to long for me though the plot was interesting.Published 6 months ago by Natalie
...."the boundaries of this world are forever shifting, from day to night, joy to sorrow, love to hate and from life itself to death; and who can say at what moment we may... Read morePublished 7 months ago by RubyG
Ugggggh! Stay away if you like any sort of humanity in your character development. The sleuthy protagonist becomes a murderer out of resentment for an act done by a childhood... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Pude
This remains as one of my favorite books of all time. Cox is a brilliant writer, who was able to keep my attention page after page. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Happy Elizabeth
From the first chapter when the protagonist commits his first murder, I was hooked! This is a slow moving and yet suspenseful novel that draws the reader into the 1850's era of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Pembroke