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The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox

The Meaning of Night (2006)

by Michael Cox

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Duport Inheritance (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,2001074,526 (3.74)1 / 167
After slaying a random victim, Edward Glyver--scholar, booklover, and now murderer--drops his bloody blade down a London sewer grate. Now he knows he can take his revenge on the former friend whose duplicity dashed his dreams of Cambridge 20 years ago. But how far will he go to win the beautiful yet mysterious Emily Carteret and to seize the wealth and influence that are rightfully his?… (more)
  1. 50
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (Anonymous user)
  2. 61
    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (starfishian, tina1969)
  3. 40
    The Glass of Time: A Novel by Michael Cox (historycycles)
    historycycles: "The Meaning of Night" is required reading in order to enjoy "The Glass of Time," which is the sequel.
  4. 41
    Great Expectations [adapted - Puffin Classics] by Charles Dickens (SandSing7)
  5. 30
    The Quincunx by Charles Palliser (chilirlw)
  6. 20
    The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (katylit)
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    Drood by Dan Simmons (ExVivre)
    ExVivre: Another vision of the gritty back alleys of London set against the well-heeled upper classes.
  8. 00
    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père (citygirl)
    citygirl: Another detailed, intricately plotted revenge tale.
  9. 00
    The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Victorian pastiche novel written with a unique perspective.
  10. 01
    Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne (Booksloth)

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English (103)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (107)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
I just can't get into this book, so I'm leaving off on p. 86. Maybe I'll get back to it sometime in the future...
  bookhookgeek | Sep 7, 2018 |
The Meaning of Night: A Confession was every bit the Victorian mystery that it proclaimed itself to be on the book cover. Chock full of suspense, romance, intrigue, and heartbreak! The only complaint that I can give is that it was a slooooow workup to the main "meat" of the story. For a book that's 695 pages long, it didn't get really interesting until around the 300 page mark. The first few pages started out with a BANG and then there was a lot of background information. A LOT. If you're looking for an epic length story that will provide you with enough detail to build your own model of Victorian England, then this book is most definitely for you. ( )
  AliceaP | Dec 18, 2017 |
I think readers who love Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White or Michel Faber’s Crimson Petal and the White will also love this one. Cox skillfully provides readers with a revenge mystery not only set in Victorian England – and filled with characters with Dickensian names – but also accurately reproduces the style of a Victorian-era sensation novel. The “gimmick” to this one is that the story is presented in the format of a genuine 19th century manuscript, complete with footnotes. The story has all of the atmospheric experience of the seedier underside of 1850’s London, juxtaposed against the pristine and awe inspiring Evenwood country estate. If the Victorian atmosphere doesn’t draw you in, then maybe the ”complicated web of happenstance, circumstance and conspiracy” will. If not that, there is always the suspense as Cox sends his characters on an intricate waltz of secrets, deceits and greed. Whether our narrator Glyver is a reliable character deserving of a reader’s sympathy or just a madman ranting, you will have to read this one to reach your own conclusions.

Overall, a richly complex and engrossing Victorian-styled read. ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Sep 29, 2017 |
I read this book near when it came out in 2006, a couple of years before I started blogging, so all I really had in the old noggin were memories of super-enthusiastic feelings. I was quite nervous in case the book didn't live up to those.

The story follows Edward Glyver as he tries to regain a birthright that he was kept from as a child and to get revenge for wrongs done to him as a youth. He fights against Phoebus Daunt, a poet and scoundrel, who is attempting to con his way into that birthright and into the heart of Emily, the same woman who Edward has fallen in love with. I know that sounds a bit stodgy and, well, Victorian, but that's because I didn't share the first line yet --
After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper.

Yes, Glyver lets us know from the first sentence that he is a murderer. And, from there, the story continued to keep my attention. It was smart and twisty and made great use of Cox's extensive knowledge of history and literature. I'm so glad that I reread it and it has re-whetted my appetite for Wilkie Collins and the other Victorian sensationalists. Not all books need supernatural villains, for there's truly nothing so scary as the evil men do.

http://webereading.com/2017/09/ripxii-2-meaning-of-night.html ( )
  klpm | Sep 21, 2017 |
I love this book so much, even though it took me quite some time to read it all, as it's definitely not a light read. This is the book that got me hooked on reading books set in Victorian England. ( )
  brideofsevenless | Apr 18, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
"But The Meaning of Night is by no means a sensational Victorian pastiche. It is substandard, ersatz hokum. The only way to stay the course of its 600 pages is to treat the over-egged writing as tenaciously tongue-in-cheek."

added by ExVivre | editThe Telegraph, Alastair Sooke (Sep 24, 2006)
"It works on many different levels, being satisfyingly thrilling without the "deadly nullification" of thought and language so attendant on most thrillers (especially Da Vinci Code imitators) ...."
added by ExVivre | editThe Guardian, Giles Foden (Sep 23, 2006)
"Although a weighty 700 pages, the story is unfailingly suspenseful."
added by ExVivre | editUSA Today, Susan Kelly (Sep 20, 2006)
"The Meaning of Night is a gripping adventure story about a man’s thirst for revenge on the nemesis who has stolen his birthright. It is extraordinary because its literary influences are not only obvious, but integral."
Instead he is eager to use words like vouchsafe as liberally as possible, so that “The Meaning of Night” has the ornate, curlicued linguistic niceties of a Dickensian period piece. Such affectations have the potential to be either voluptuously pleasing (as they were in Michel Faber’s “Crimson Petal and the White” and Sarah Dunant’s “In the Company of the Courtesan”) or arduously contrived (Elizabeth Kostova’s “Historian”). But in Mr. Cox’s version they are oddly colorless.

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Coxprimary authorall editionscalculated
Timson, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wenlock, NevilleNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The words of his mouth were smoother than butter,
but war was in his heart:
his words were softer than oil,
yet were they drawn swords.
—Psalm 55:21
I find, to him that the tale is told,
belief only makes the difference betwixt a truth, and a lie.
—Owen Felltham, Resolves or, Excogitations.
A Second Centurie (1629),
iv ('Of Lies and Untruths')
For Death is the meaning of night;
The eternal shadow
Into which all lives must fall,
All hopes expire.
—P. Rainsford Daunt, 'From the Persian', Rosa Mundi; and Other Poems (1854)
What a skein of ruffled silk
is the uncomposed man.

Owen Felltham, Resolves (1623),
ii, 'Of Resolution'
For Dizzy. For everything.

Ask not Pilate's question.
For I have sought, not truth, but meaning.

First words
The following work, printed here for the first time, is one of the lost curiosities of nineteenth-century literature.
After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language
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Book description
"After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper."

So begins the story of Edward Glyver, booklover, scholar, and murderer. A chance discovery convinces Glyver that greatness awaits him. His path to win what is rightfully his leads him to Evenwood, one of England's most enchanting country houses, and a woman who will become his obsession.
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Average: (3.74)
0.5 1
1 13
1.5 1
2 40
2.5 11
3 107
3.5 42
4 177
4.5 25
5 118

W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393062031, 0393330346

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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