- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 23 hours and 9 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: August 20, 2013
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00CP6UNWC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Night Film: A Novel Audiobook – Unabridged
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The story is a complex thriller, with layer after layer unraveling as middle-aged reporter Scott McGrath and two young sidekicks he acquires, Hopper and Nora, try to find out the truth about reclusive Stanislas Cordova, the maker of several films said to be so horrific that they have become almost impossible to find (and at the same time have acquired a fanatic cult following), and his daughter, beautiful young Ashley, who commits suicide (or does she?) early in the book. The films don’t play quite as great a role in the proceedings as I had expected, existing mostly as dark hints, though they move to center stage in a long section late in the book when McGrath finds himself inside the original film sets, which have been carefully preserved.
In addition to these mysteries, the book has some interesting things to say about the human urge to create, or at least witness, personas that are “larger than life”—individuals who are not bound by the humdrum annoyances and limitations that hobble most of us, perhaps even partaking of the supernatural. Cordova and Ashley raise this creation to an art form, but essentially every character in the book is involved in it, either through inventing their own personas or through being attracted to those invented by others in the conscious or unconscious hope that a little of their “magic” will rub off.
The writing is excellent, the pace fast, the suspense high, and the characters fascinating. The author does a fine job of balancing on the knife edge between reality and fantasy. The book is very good as entertainment, but it is also a powerful testimony to the human craving for more, even when that “more” takes forms that are terrifying.
Night Film may well be the best book I've ever read. It captures how anything is possible in the all encompassing mystery of night. I was so intrigued by the strange woman in the red coat in the first chapter, full of unexplained dark and impossible secrets, that I was annoyed by my slow reading and wanted to swallow the entire book right then and there. Marisha Pessl captures the beauty in the darkness beyond film noir. She explores the very edges of reality. The same edges the fictional elusive director Cordova explores in his films, which attracts an equally elusive cult following who seem to live in the films.
Many years ago I was walking home from a movie theatre, back when independent films and theatres still existed. I saw flashing blue lights. No sirens. No hurry. A terrible dread of wrongness. As I passed by, I saw two prone bodies in the street, covered from head to toe in white sheets that flashed blue in the night. Seeing death up close, so unexpected, was of course horribly upsetting. Yet there was a certain quiet beauty to the scene; it spoke of unknown and tragic possibilities.
Night Film could have been written to describe that memory. It envelops the reader in a strange, uncertain and darkly compelling world that I didn't want to end. It's not an easy book to read. It's like a circular tree, with branches and smaller branches and twigs and dead leaves, all leading down different mysterious paths, all of which are tied up in the end. But they're tied with a loose knot and even though the unexplainable is eventually explained, it's not tied off neatly with a bow. Pessl manages to leave us satisfied, but still full of the resonance of the constantly changing line between reality and not reality.
This is a dark book, as the name implies. It's also a brilliant book, similar to the night films describes, hints at, twists, and eventually ends with the closing credits. Were it one of its night films, I would sit in the theatre long after the credits finished, unable to leave until an employee kicked me out. If I was really lucky, the employee would ignore me and I'd watch the film again and again.
Most recent customer reviews
After spending a whole day peeling back the Night Film tentacles from around my head, I can gratefully report that I’m almost back to my normal...Read more