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The Meaning of Night [Paperback]

Michael Cox
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
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Product Description

Amazon Review

Early Buzz From Amazon.co.uk Top Reviewers

We queried our top 100 reviewers and asked them to read The Meaning of Night and share their thoughts. We've included these early reviews below in the order they were received. For the sake of space, we've only included a brief excerpt of each reviewer's response, but each review is available for reading in its entirety by clicking the "Read the review" link. Enjoy!

John Chippindale: "After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper . . ."
If the opening sentence of this book does not demand the attention of the reader, I don’t know what will. If you never pick up another book, you must read this one." Read John Chippindale’s review

Budge Burgess: "With 600 pages of narrative, Latin chapter headings, literary and scholarly allusions, compendious footnotes, and the conceit that this is, indeed, a Victorian testament bequeathed to posterity by its hero and consequently written in an approximation of mid-19th century style, this is a weighty tome, and one which suffers from its art." Read Budge Burgess’s review

David Bryson: " 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." Read David Bryson’s review

Kona: "This is an exciting read, full of period details and charm. Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction." Read Kona’s review

Russell Clarke: "Goes against the flow of the usual revenge motif in culture and art and is all the more poignant and compulsive for it. A highly recommended read." Read Russell Clarke’s review

Andrew Butterfield: "I’m not usually a fan of this genre, and didn’t expect too much of The Meaning of Night, but I must confess I was drawn into the story and helped along by the easy yet literary writing style."Read Andrew Butterfield's review

N. C. Samaniego: "The story itself is ingenious, building hopes of a satisfactory outcome, and the unexpected final twist prepares for a dramatic showdown." Read N. C. Samaniego’s review

Bruce Loveitt: "If you love the 19th century....the times and the literature of the period....you will love this book. It is both exciting and touching, appealing to both the intellect and the heart. A winner." Read Bruce Loveitt’s review

Peter Kenney: "The story is marked by clever twists and the writing is excellent. I recommend this book without reservation to any reader who likes a fascinating tale packed with intrigue, romance and robust characters." Read Peter Kenney’s review

Samantha Banwell: "Although not a fan of this book, I cannot help but admire its descriptive detail of Victorian England." Read Samantha Banwell’s review

M. J Leonard: "Meticulously researched, forbiddingly atmospheric and also remarkably secretive, Cox writes with a sharp eye for period detail. The novel is a strange and heady brew of social convention, the desolation of a lonely, half-mad man and the restrictions of a society who continually refuses to acknowledge him.!" Read M.J. Leonard’s review

Amanda Richards: "This is a big book, a huge book, a massive tome – it is one of those books that would cause grievous bodily harm if dropped upon the unsuspecting foot. But don’t let that deter you – from the first confession to the final gripping chapter you’ll find yourself a tad reluctant to place your bookmark between the pages, even when the midnight hour has ticked away and a new work day is approaching in mere hours." Read Amanda Richard’s review

Anders P. Jensen: "The occationally odd names of people and places may seem a bit too cute at first (Phoebus Rainsford Daunt?!), and I haven't read all of the ‘editor's notes’, but Cox is easily forgiven, because he can write." Read Anders P. Jensen’s review

A. Skudder: "Nearly everything I would like to say about this book would involve giving away something, and a great deal of the enjoyment of the story is in experiencing the sudden changes of direction without warning, right the way up to the very brave ending. If you want to know what that ending is and why it is so brave you will have to read it yourself, but you are unlikely to regret it." Read A. Skudder’s review

Daniel Jolley: "If you harbor the slightest appreciation for the unparalleled power and beauty of the written word, you will want to immerse yourself in the pages of The Meaning of Night." Read Daniel Jolley's review

Themis-Athena: "It reportedly took a tragedy in Michael Cox's life to transform an unfinished manuscript begun thirty years earlier into a novel finally and deservedly now making its way into print. I very much hope it won't take another tragedy (or another thirty years) for his next book to be published." Read Themis-Athena’s review

The Fragrant Wookiee: "An intriguing novel which will completely immerse you in its twisting subtleties and which you will be very glad you decided to give a try. I know I was.." Read the Fragrant Wookiee’s review

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

A tale of obsession, love and revenge, played out amid London's swirling smog ... Glyver is an outstanding creation ... Cox lovingly recreates the atmosphere of the period, from grand dinner parties to assignation with ladies of the night ... Yet he never allows period detail to swamp the human drama at the novel's heart' (Daily Mail)

'Spellbinding Victorian mystery . . .Dark atmospheric storytelling with wicked twists and turns' (Good Housekeeping)

'A handsome slice of Victoriana... a rewarding, sinister yarn wrapped around an austere meditation on fate, faith and privilege' (Observer)

'A novel of fate and free will, forensic detection and blind love, crime and its justifications. The atmosphere crackles, but beneath all is a sly sense of humour. The plotting is second to non - a finely tuned yet extravagantly complex piece of clockwork' (Evening Standard)

'An unadulterated pleasure. In prose as flamboyant as a bespoke smoking jacket, Cox's metropolis comes to life, teeming with hearty whores and weasily clerks ... As thrilling as a Hansom cab chase and as guilty a pleasure as a nocturnal turn at a gentleman's "introducing house"' (Independent on Sunday)

'Like Charles Palliser, Michel Faber and Sarah Waters, Cox is making the Victorian era a switchback ride for the reader's mind... a rich and complicated tale ... a journey into darkness' (Independent)

'A brooding, sinister work ... seeps with questions about good and evil, fate, inheritance, love and, above all, faith' (Scotsman)

'The pages teem with wit and erudition and the plot thickens like a good minestrone soup . . . Thrilling' (Courier Mail)

'An enthralling journey into the depths of Victorian London and the psyche of a man obsessed, Michael Cox's The Meaning of Night will have you hooked from [the] stunning opening line to the thrilling final revelation' (InStyle)

'Resonant with echoes of Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens, Cox's richly imagined thriller features an unreliable narrator, Edward Glyver, who opens his chilling 'confession'; with a cold-blooded account of an anonymous murder that he commits one night on the streets of l854 London...Cox's tale abounds with startling surprises that are made credible by its scrupulously researched background and details of everyday Victorian life. Its exemplary blend of intrigue, history and romance mark a stand-out literary debut' (Publishers Weekly)

'Impressively fluent first novel' (Sunday Telegraph)

'Cox creates a strong sense of place, a complex narrative full of unexpectedly wicked twists, and a well-drawn cast of supporting characters. His language is mesmerizing, and his themes of betrayal, revenge, social stratification, sexual repression, and moral hypocrisy echo those of the great 19th-century novelists. Written in the tradition of Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White and Sarah Waters's Fingersmith, Cox's masterpiece is highly recommended for all fiction collections' (Library Journal)

'This is a gripping page-turner for dark winter evenings' (Good Book Guide)

'A remarkably entertaining treat which begs comparison with the world of Patricia Highsmith' (Kirkus)

'Unusual and remarkable... Key to the convincing nature of this confession is Cox's grasp of the minutiae of the times and the language of the period, so that the reader at times forgets this isn't a contemporary of Dickens' (South China Sunday Morning Post)

Book Description

The bestselling mystery of murder, love and obsession

About the Author

Michael Cox has been planning and drafting 'The Meaning of Night' for thirty years. He is a former editor at Oxford University Press and biographer of the ghost story writer M. R. James. His lifelong passion for Victorian literature led him to edit a number of collections of short fiction from the period, including 'The Oxford Book of Victorian Detective Stories'. He lives in rural Northamptonshire - where 'The Meaning of Night' is partly set - with his wife. This is his first novel.
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