Thursday, May 07, 2009

Book Review: "The Glass of Time"

Michael Cox's The Glass of Time (Norton, 2008) is the sequel to The Meaning of Night (2006), which I greatly enjoyed. Twenty years on from the events recounted there, Glass continues the story of the disputed Duport Succession, weaving family lines together with generous helpings of deception, blackmail, and the plucking of heartstrings.

Cox deploys the same framing device as in Meaning of Night, presenting the book as an edited production of J.J. Antrobus, Professor of Post-Authentic Victorian Fiction at the University of Cambridge. He was more sparing with the explanatory footnotes this time around, though (much to my dismay, since I think they're great).

I felt like the characters were more developed in this book, and while there were the usual Victorian-fiction "aha" moments and implausibly neat resolutions, those are to be expected. This book had a definite Wilkie Collins vibe about it, in a good way.

Since the world lost Mr. Cox earlier this year, we readers will, most unfortunately, be deprived of the further adventures of Professor Antrobus in the Duport family's tangled web. But we can be glad of what we have, and enjoy these two fine productions.

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