Night Film by Marisha Pessl
Published by: Random House
Published on: August 20, 2013
Page Count: 624
My Reading Format: ARC received from a fellow book blogger (thank you!)
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook
Summary from the Publisher:
On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.
For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.
Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world.
The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.
Mid June through Mid July was an intense time for me. I first attended a PMP exam prep class in Arlington that made my head explode. Then, I spent the next three weeks studying for the PMP exam. It was grueling to say the least, but I did create some bright spots in each day that made the time go by quickly. One of those bright spots was Night Film, a novel I would have otherwise read at an insanity pace. So long as I met my personal study goals, I treated myself with 20 minutes of reading last thing before I went to sleep. In the dark with just a book light to read by, it really couldn’t have been a better environment to absorb the story of Scott McGrath, a disgraced journalist who nonetheless is determined to get the bottom of the suicide of the daughter of his nemesis.
As this book includes pictures, emails, doctor’s reports, and other types of media within its pages, you never know what you might find when you turn the page. One night, as I finished a chapter and was too tired to read further, I flipped the page to insert my book mark and was startled to death. I do startle and scare pretty easily, but what I saw kept me up for another 30 minutes even though I was exhausted. I heard every creak and settling and despite how tired I was and knowing how exhausted I would be the next day, I loved every spooked out minute of it. It left me wanting to flip ahead so I wouldn’t be surprised in the future, but I never did because those types of experiences don’t come around very often and they are priceless.
As much as I loved Night Film, it wasn’t a perfect book. The over use of italics drove me crazy, especially as they didn’t seem to signify anything in particular such as thoughts or a sign of exasperation. I did read an advanced reader’s copy, so this may not be the case in the final printed version. The ending also didn’t pack the punch I had been expecting. A month later, I’m still not sure what I think or how I feel about the ending, but it wasn’t consistent with the experience of reading the first 500 pages. I plan on rereading the ending when my finished copy comes in the mail. Despite the italics and my less than enthusiastic response to the ending, I loved this book so much that I knew I wanted to pay forward the gifted ARC and have a copy to pet and keep for my own.
When I read Special Topics in Calamity Physics I knew that Marisha Pessl was special. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to learn that an author was publishing her second novel than for her. Night Film is an adventurous, engaging, out of the box novel. That I had issues with it takes nothing away from my regard for Pessl as a writer. That she took her time to craft a novel like none other I have ever read only increases my regard for her. I’m ready for what she brings to the table next. Marisha Pessl is an author who makes me feel glad to be alive and reading in this day and age.