The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox



This book. This book. I am, in all honesty, not even sure where to begin. Do you ever finish a story a feel completely at a loss about it?  But I won’t let that stop me. 

The Library Journal wrote, “The perpetrator, Edward Glyver, is an erudite bibliophile and resourceful detective who assumes different names and personas with disquieting ease.” Sounds fascinating, does it not? The first thing you need to understand about Mr. Glyver is, however, that he is not entirely sane. Does the book ever tell you this specifically? No. But the context clues on this one form a mighty high pile. 

Mr. Glyver feels that the mother who brought him up and his birth mother (who he discovers are not the same people) did him wrong and denied him his birth right. His birth right being the true son and heir of a very wealthy man who holds both power and land. He wants these things for himself and he dwells on them past the point of obsession and into the realm of concealed insanity. 

This fellow starts off, very innocently, just trying to find clues that will prove him clearly and conclusively to being this wealthy man’s son. In the meantime he is thwarted by a childhood acquaintance who has ingratiated himself into the Tansor family (the family to which Edward feels he belongs). This acquaintance, Mr. Daunt, is named successor to the Tansor family when Lord Tansor feels that there is no way that a true blood heir will ever come. 

What follows is Edward’s downward spiral to betrayal, murder, and finally him ostracizing himself to flee from the horrors he has committed. 

I truly am not sure if I liked this book. I’m completely on a fence about it. The story itself was rich and colorful and very well written but the characters themselves were not likable in the least. I found myself in complete distaste of every single character I came across, including Edward. Perhaps I can look past that as it truly is a well written and well thought out story that is very rich in detail, almost to the point of being tedious with it. What I can’t disregard is the empty feeling it has left me with. Some people describe this book as a “tour de force” and one review I perused claimed that it was transcendent. While I can at least vaguely see where they are coming from, I can’t say that I agree. It is at least worth a read. 

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