Tuesday, 7 January 2014
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
One night, twenty-four year old Ashley Cordova, the daughter of cult film director Stanislas Cordova, is found dead in an apparent suicide. Disgraced journalist Scott McGrath begins to investigate her death in an attempt to solve the mystery surrounding Cordova and his later works, which can only be bought on the black market. The films are legendary, shown in underground screenings all over the world, and have even been reported to make viewers insane. But as McGrath begins to follow Ashley's trail, he comes across a web of sinister rumours and connections that prove difficult to get to the bottom of. Just what is real and what is made up for the films?
Night Film is going to be a very difficult book to review, because it's one of those books where the less you know about it, the better. It's full of twists and turns as the line between reality and myth is blurred throughout the book, and you never quite know what the truth is. I'd love to say more about the plot, but I can't without ruining the reading experience. You'll have to take it from me - Night Film is a clever page turner and will certainly keep you guessing.
One thing I loved about the book was the inclusion of different types of media. Alongside the written story, Pessl has included screenshots of websites, personal records, police files, magazine clippings and transcriptions of messages. There's even an app you can download as you read, which I chose not to use, but which has more elements of the same sort. I really enjoyed these parts of the book as it gave you the feeling of solving the mystery along with McGrath and allowed you to make up your own mind as you went.
Night Film is a chunky book but I raced through it in under three days as I simply could not put it down. It's certainly an active reading experience, as the book and the characters got into my head and have stayed there ever since. I found parts of it genuinely creepy and haunting as Pessl plays with horror and how reality can be manipulated to create certain experiences. I don't think I'm doing a good job of articulating just why I loved this book so much, but it's so different from everything else I read and it's just one of those books that worm their way into your very being and stay there. It's not a book I'm likely to forget any time soon.
So the take-home message from this review is: read Night Film, and read it as soon as possible. You wont be disappointed!
Source: Personal copy
First Published: 2013
Score: 5 out of 5