Richard Godwin

Vengeful Victorians

The Meaning of Night

By

John Murray 594pp £17.99 order from our bookshop

The promotional material that comes with Michael Cox’s debut novel serves notice of a worrying trend. Last year, having paid Cox a record £500,000 advance, publishers John Murray embarked on a ‘ground-breaking research Project’. They sent out 600 copies to ordinary readers, inviting them to submit their responses.

‘Fantastic, awesome, first-rate, marvellous, sensational, superb, stunning, impressive and amazing’, opined S Rowe of Wigton, Cumbria. ‘It was more Wilkie Collins than Wilkie Collins himself!’ quipped an anonymous London female, aged 55–64. J Herron of Belfast suspected the novel’s hero, Edward Glyver, ‘may well become a stock character in 21st century literature’. These citizen critics will do us out of a job!

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,
    • The author 'seethes with contemptuous indignation at the shiny junk that an unregulated construction industry dumps… ,
    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,