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Night Film: A Novel Kindle Edition
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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.
Ashley Cordova is dead. Her death is ruled a suicide. Everything that surrounds anyone with the name Cordova is suspicious.
Ashley is the daughter of Stanlislas Cordova, the reclusive horror-cult-film director, whose films are so dark and disturbing that they cannot even be bought by conventional means from conventional suppliers. To view a Cordova Film is said to leave the viewer changed. His actors refuse to speak of him or their experience under his directing. He is a mystery.
A mystery that disgraced journalist Scott McGrath tried to unravel several years ago and it ended up costing him his job and his family. Scott has been given information into Ashley's death. He can't walk away from this even though investigating a Cordova once lost him so much.
"I couldn't fathom my stupidity. I'd known we were being followed, yet like some reckless fool, I'd taken no precautions, which now seemed especially idiotic, considering the last time I'd gone after Cordova my life collapsed around me like a cheap vaudeville set."
Scott McGrath's investigation into Ashley Cordova's death will take him deep into the darkest corners of his own psyche. A terrifying place to be.
"The moment I accepted it, understood I could very well die wondering here, I'd reached the end."
Nearly 600 pages complete with case file photos, news clippings and screen shots, Marisha Pessl's NIGHT FILM is one of the most, if not THE most, incredibly haunting books that I've ever read. Read it? Do you dare?