Reading guide for The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Meaning of Night

A Confession

by Michael Cox

The Meaning of Night
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2006, 672 pages
    Oct 2007, 704 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. 'After killing the red-haired man, I took myself off to Quinn's for an oyster supper.'

    The first line unexpectedly introduces Edward Glyver as a murderer. In some ways he is an unlikely hero. How quickly does the reader begin to support him? Is it sympathy, admiration or something else that first causes the reader to support this character?

  2. 'For Death is the meaning of night
    The eternal shadow
    Into which all lives must fall
    All hopes expire'
    P. Rainsford Daunt, 'From the Persian'

    What is the significance of the book's title?

  3. What does the role of the editor, J.J. Antrobus, add to the book?

  4. 487 members of the public read early copies of The Meaning of Night as part of a BML market research project. When asked 'Which other authors or other works of fiction would you compare The Meaning of Night to?', the most popular answers were Charles Dickens and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

    Do you agree with these answers? Do you feel Charles Dickens and Fingersmith were the most popular answers because of similarities in historical setting, geographical setting, characterisation, language, plot themes or something else?

  5. 'I think much of her – I mean my mother – and how alike we were.'

    How are Glyver and his mother Laura Duport similar? Do you think her actions were justifiable?

  6. In an interview the author Michael Cox said, 'Evenwood, the ravishingly beautiful country house, is a symbol of Glyver's ultimately forlorn hopes.'

    Which hope in particular do you think Evenwood symbolizes? Is it merely materialistic? What is it about Evenwood that Glyver is prepared to kill for?

  7. The chapter in which Le Grice gives Glyver a book of Daunt's poetry dedicated to 'E.G.' is entitled 'Amicus Verus' – a true friend. Is Le Grice Glyver's truest friend? Is there a character with whom Glyver has a stronger bond, even if their relationship does not survive the book?

  8. 'I killed him, but in doing so, I killed the best part of myself.'

    Which characters receive appropriate punishments and which do not? Were you satisfied with the book's ending?

    Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of W.W. Norton & Company. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hag-Seed
    by Margaret Atwood
    There's a scene in The Tempest that many critics have concluded is indicative of Shakespeare&#...
  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Comet Seekers
    by Helen Sedgwick

    A magical, intoxicating debut novel, both intimate and epic.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.