Monday, October 22, 2007

Is there a "Meaning of Night?"

The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox has arrived in the store in paperback! I’m excited to share this book with people who love historical mysteries. I received an advance reading copy about a year ago, just before the hardcover was released, read the nearly 800 pages in a matter of days, and told everyone in the store about it. They probably wish I’d shut up about it already, but now that it’s out in paper that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
Can you really like a character who confesses to the murder of a man in the first sentence of the book, and commits the murder for no other reason than to prove to himself he can do it?

Edward Glyver, the narrator, is a complex character who is not just telling the story, but is confessing the acts that led him to the state of guilty anxiety in which he finds himself from the first page forward. What drives Edward is a sense of self, which he finds was stolen from him at birth and he determines to regain it. Should he lie, steal, cheat or murder, it’s all in the name of regaining his place in the world.

Can you like a man who commits murder to prove to himself he can? In the beginning you may dislike Edward Glyver as I did, but by the last page, even if the end doesn’t necessarily justify the means, I’ll wager that you’ll feel for his struggle and maybe even like him- just a little.

This is historical mystery at its best- described by someone as Victorian noire, I simply describe it as one of the best books I’ve read in a decade.

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