Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Cover of Night Film

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Published by: Random House

Published on: August 20, 2013

Page Count: 624

Genre: Fiction

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.

My Review

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.


  • At 2013.08.19 12:02, Sandy said:

    I love that last sentence of yours. Amen! I absolutely loved this book. I thought it WAS out of the box, creative and it made my brain buzz. I actually loved that ending, because it wasn’t neat and tidy, and it allowed my already revved up mind to wonder. I had to laugh because in Jill’s review of this book this morning, she mentioned the italics and I absolutely DID NOT NOTICE IT AT ALL!!! I guess I was just so engrossed in the whole thing. it just delighted me to no end.

    • At 2013.08.19 13:11, Jennifer said:

      Jill and I must be the only people who noticed it because everyone I’ve talked has no idea what my deal was. LOL! That’s okay. Changes in formatting prompt my attention and maybe that goes back to my proofreading/typesetting days. I did love this novel, even with the italics as is. 🙂

    • At 2013.08.19 12:45, Ti said:

      I liked this one a bit more than you, and the italics did not bother me. I talk in italics (if you can imagine it) and her use of italics exactly matched what I would have stressed had I been saying the words out loud. For that reason, it didn’t bother me but I could see how it was excessive in use.

      I haven’t written the review yet and I am really sweating it as I am not one to remember details.

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      • At 2013.08.19 13:13, Jennifer said:

        This was a hard review to write because I loved it and want people to know how much I did. It occurred to me while I was responding to Sandy’s comment that it might go back to my proofreading/typesetting days. I pay attention to formatting and I don’t like it if it seems off or isn’t consistent. Be glad it didn’t bother you. This was a great read regardless.

      • At 2013.08.19 12:48, tanya said:

        Your’s is the first blogger review of Night Film that I’ve read. You’ve got me. Hook, line and sinker. I loved Calamity Physics as well, but i wasn’t sure how this one would measure up? All hype, or something really special.

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        • At 2013.08.19 13:15, Jennifer said:

          I am glad you stopped by. I did a double take when I saw your blog name because that’s the same name I picked originally back in 2007. LOL! If your goal is to read 1 book a week for a year, why not? I hope you love Night Film. It will make you want to reread Special Topics. Both are such great books.

        • At 2013.08.19 14:37, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

          Now I’m really curious about what you saw that kept you awake like that. I wonder how this would work on audio – you wouldn’t see the italics but you wouldn’t see the other items either.

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          • At 2013.08.19 19:19, Jennifer said:

            I will withhold judgement on the audio because there is potential that it could be amazing, but I have no desire to read this in audio, even as a reread. This book is too visual in my opinion.

          • At 2013.08.20 07:29, Caite@a lovely shore breeze said:

            I did not love it…a good beginning, a good end..and a huge dull middle. I think the book tried to be too many thinks and ultimately failed.

            • At 2013.08.23 04:00, A Little Friday Fun said:

              […] this week I reviewed Night Film. My finished copy arrived on Tuesday and I am IN LOVE. I have had fun touching it and skimming the […]

              (Required, will not be published)

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