Friday, 14 September 2007

The Meaning of Night - Michael Cox

The atmosphere of this book reminded me of 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova, with hidden tales of a secret life revealed through books, letters and diaries, bringing new dangers and worries on every page. I was up until 12.50 last night, frantically trying to finish this, knowing that if I put it down I would never manage to go to sleep without know how it ended up. When I finally read the last page, I was pleased to note that while I had guessed a few key twists, the crucial surprises had really surprised me.

Although I'm not an expert, the vocabulary the author used seemed to match the period the book is set in, with lots of interesting nuggets of Victorian gold. The resulting primness is juxtaposed with the darkness at the heart of the tale; enormous loss, bitter secrets and violence leading through the murkier side of the mid-19th century to the climactic clash of the sworn enemies. This absorbing debut was nominated for the 2006 Costa First Novel Award, which was eventually won by 'The Tenderness of Wolves' by Stef Penney. I honestly don't know how they chose between them.


Fiona said...

Your review of this of this book is beautifully written.

I had just ordered it and it looks like I'll be glad I did.

Lazy Perfectionista said...

Thanks Fiona, that's really kind of you. I'll be interested to know what you think when you've finished reading it!

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