Full Title: The Meaning of Night: A Confession
It's about: It's a mystery-thriller set in Victorian England. A down-on-his-luck scholar named Edward Glyver confesses the multiple betrayals that led him, ultimately, to murder at least one person.
I thought: The cover of The Meaning of Night has a scintillating tagline: "A secret buried. A love betrayed. A destiny revealed." Those three short sentences didn't inspire much hope in this reader. Why should a book need a tagline, anyway? Not a good sign.
The narrative opens with Edward killing an unsuspecting stranger. I know this was meant to be an edgy hook, establishing our protagonist as an antihero, but it didn't work for me. Painting Edward as a murderer right off the bat made him a pretty distasteful character. I didn't particularly want him to succeed, and so my interest in his story waned. Given that this is a fairly long book (nearly 700 pages) with a complex plot and mysteries within mysteries, I consider an unlikeable narrator to be a pretty major flaw. Also, little amusing detail here: Edward's girl is a hooker with a heart of gold and her name is... wait for it... Bella.
Overall, The Meaning of Night is a decent novel, but it's not my favorite genre and it didn't capture my imagination the way it intended to. It's certainly not a waste of time, but not a must-read either.
Reading Recommendations: This one is kinda wintery. Pick it up when you want something mildly shocking to carry you through the dull cold nights.
Warnings: Some violence and sex, slightly more descriptively told than you'd normally expect if it were truly penned in the mid-19th century. It's pretty tame, though, by today's standards.
Favorite excerpts: “Non sum qualis eram.” (I am not what I was) (Wouldn't that be a cool tattoo?)
“The boundaries of this world are forever shifting - from day to night, joy to sorrow, love to hate, and from life itself to death; and who can say at what moment we may suddenly cross over the border, from one state of existence to another, like heat applied to some flammable substance?”
What I'm reading next: Anarchy Evolution by Greg Graffin and Steve Olson