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Michael Cox: The Meaning of Night

I am a sucker for modern takes on Victorian literature of the Charles Dickens / Wilkie Collins variety, Charles Palliser’s The Quincunx being for me the high point of said genre. The Meaning of Night got a bunch of very positive reviews and had a great first line (“After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn’s for an oyster supper”) so off I went to read it.

And this is kind of a weird thing to say after spending most of a weekend feverishly plowing through it, but I was ultimately a bit disappointed. I try not to put spoilers of any kind in these reviews, so I don’t want to go into too much more detail, so I’ll just say that for me the ending of the book did not live up to the expectations set by the rest of it. Clearly most readers felt differently (it has 4.5 stars on Amazon), and I enjoyed most of the time I spent with it, so I don’t want to be too harsh, but I felt like there was a bit of a wasted opportunity here.

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