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Night Film

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On a damp October night, 24-year-old 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 Stanislaus 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.

598 pages, Hardcover

First published July 16, 2013

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About the author

Marisha Pessl

9 books3,872 followers
Marisha Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and now lives in New York City. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, her debut novel, was a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. It won the 2006 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Her new novel, Night Film, comes out August 20, 2013.

Marisha's Facebook:

facebook.com/MarishaPesslOfficial

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,739 reviews
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews169k followers
October 7, 2015
(4.5)
HOLY MOLY THIS BOOK WAS FANTASTIC. F A N T A S T I C. The only reason I'm giving it a 4.5 is because it felt unnecessarily long. Even though I flew through this sucker, I feel like it could have been condensed a bit. Other than that this was SO SO SO GOOD. AHHH.
Profile Image for karen.
3,979 reviews170k followers
June 19, 2018
good lord, remember marisha pessl?? she of Special Topics in Calamity Physics fame?? remember the immense fawning hordes of fans and the praise surrounding that book?? you might not, it was 7 years ago and all. but it was a Very Big Deal at the time.

and it was a book that i personally thought was just okay. i am a tough judge of books that claim to be like The Secret History. i might have said this once or twice or a dozen times on the internet. and i thought special topics was fine, just a little too cheekily stylized for me, and a little hyperactive and referential in its prose.

so when i was handed this ARC, at first, i was a little, "her?"



and then i flipped through it.

and it was full of pictures and screenshots and case notes and just a real explosion of visual literacy.

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and then i read what it was about.

and the first thing i thought of, because of the mixed-media approach, and the dark tones, was House of Leaves.

another book i found overly gimmicky that everyone else loooves.

but something about this made me want to dive right into it, despite those two books being lodged in my mind and making me hesitate.

and wouldn't you know it...

to borrow the phrase of a very enthusiastic man,



this book is everything.

everything except easy to review, that is.

it is a minefield of spoilers.

there is a sentence in this book, where a character is talking about his life, but it also serves as the most succinctly perfect description of the experience of reading this book:

Just when you think you've hit rock bottom, you realize you're on another trapdoor.

the basic plot revolves around scott mcgrath, a disgraced investigative journalist drawn to the mystery of a beautiful young woman who has apparently committed suicide.

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she just happens to be the daughter of stanislas cordova, the very same reclusive film director who was responsible for the "disgraced" adjective on scott's CV. cordova's films are scary-dark pieces whose fans share a cultish devotion, especially since the films are only distributed through unconventional, underground channels. cordova's life is surrounded by mystery - very few photos of him exist, mysterious deaths, madness and disappearances accrue in his wake, his actors refuse to speak of their experiences working with him, but they are forever changed.

and scott's going to find out what really happened to ashley cordova, and maybe uncover some dirt on stanislas himself and restore his own reputation.

ooorrrr issss heeee???

trapdoors upon trapdoors upon trapdoors.

i do not want to say anything that will mar your reading experience. but i will say that it is pleasantly creepy, very well-executed, and genuinely gripping.

and not at all cheeky.

the praise for this one will come, and this time, i will be amongst the cheerleaders.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for eb.
481 reviews149 followers
December 5, 2013
A failure on nearly every level. The characters are paper-flat, they all speak in exactly the same (preposterous) voice, and none of them develop an inch. "But that's okay," you might argue; "Pessl's writing a thriller, and plot is her main concern." Fine, but the plot of this novel is deeply, deeply boring. Night Film reads like a would-be thriller by someone who's never actually read a thriller or a mystery. The protagonist stumps around from obvious clue to obvious clue, talking to a host of characters who spill details for no reason. There's no tension, and there's no suspense. And for all the times we're told how sinister Cordova and Ashley are, we don't get a single truly disturbing instance of bad behavior (unless you're shaken to your core by the possibility that they've killed a few kids). Most baffingly, the writing itself is terrible. The purported NYMag posts and blog slideshows are completely unconvincing and tonally off—no one would hire this writer as a blogger. It's as if Pessl is getting paid per misplaced modifier. The scariest thing about this novel is the cruel way its author tortures grammar. It's one of the most disappointing sophomore efforts I've ever encountered.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,543 reviews9,858 followers
April 8, 2023
**4.5-stars**

Night Film is a complete and total mindf*ck. I'm serious. There's no better way to explain it.



Don't misinterpret this as a negative comment. It is a really intriguing story! Like deviously, brain-numbing good.



Creative, dark and gripping.

Night Film wraps you up in this world of Cordova and has you second guessing everyone, even yourself.



Who, or what, is Cordova, you ask?

In this story, Cordova is an uber-famous film director; mysterious and untouchable. He is the shadow that looms over this entire book.



Our protagonist, Scott McGrath, is a fallen-from-grace investigative reporter who becomes fixated on the apparent suicide of Cordova's daughter, Ashley.

Through the course of his research, he involves two young people to assist him with the investigation, Nora and Hopper.



The story incorporates mixed media sources, such as magazine interviews, articles and online forum posts, which makes you feel as though you are part of the investigation too.

The entire book blends the line between fantasy, reality, and the idea that your mind can come to accept a 'truth' even without definitive proof.



I don't even know if I am making sense right now, but this book will do that to you!

I listened to the audiobook on a very long road trip and the narrator was absolutely perfect. His voice WAS Scott McGrath.



The dialogue was so smart throughout. I laughed out loud, I exclaimed curses when really scary stuff went down; I must have looked mad while driving down the highway.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a dark story steeped in occultism and mystery.



My rating of 4.5 versus 5-stars is because the ending didn't quite work for me. I wouldn't say I was disappointed with the ending, I just wish certain elements would have wrapped up differently.

Overall, this is a fabulous examination of the human psyche and a sick, spooky read!

Profile Image for Melanie.
1,167 reviews98.2k followers
September 18, 2022
i no longer want to interact with this review, so if you wanna read it... go to my blog. tl;dr - i hated this book and i thought it was offensive and hurtful in a lot of ways.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,443 reviews78.1k followers
February 6, 2019
I believe this book will be in my top 3 I have read for the year. It's been awhile since a book completely captivated me and sucked me in so thoroughly that I was sneaking around my house to finish it and avoid my everyday duties. :) No spoilers here as I don't want to ruin the book for anyone.


This book is about the death and investigation of Ashley Cordova, daughter to elusive horror filmmaker Stan Cordova. Enter Scott McGrath, a journalist who previously tried to come after Cordova which caused him to be discredited as a serious investigator. Dark rumors have swirled around Cordova since his retreat into his private, palatial compound know as "The Peak". Ashley Cordova is believed to have committed suicide, but McGrath suspects more to the story. He is determined to find the truth no matter the cost as he has already lost his family and credbility. What follows is a journey following McGrath and 2 strangers that is thrilling, suspenseful, and emotional.

Boy was I sucked into this one! I found I was holding my breath on multiple occasions and had to remind myself to let it out. This was a wild ride, not only because of how intense and intriguing it was, but because of how attached I felt I had become to the characters. I have heard lots a dispute on how the book ended; for me, I wasn't pleased per say, but I came to accept it after letting it sit with me a bit. This is definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time; I don't typically reread books as I have so many new ones I need to read, but I feel like this might be one I reread once a year or so. I can certainly see why this read wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it was exactly what I needed right now. This one is a GREAT bridge for those wanting to make a leap from the suspense/thriller genre (traditional) to horror, but need something to ease them into something containing bits of the supernatural. I'll definitely be looking for her first novel to read!
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,453 reviews7,566 followers
September 20, 2013
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Has it happened yet? Have the oh-so-annoying cover notations calling every new release the “new Gone Girl” ceased and “the new Night Film” labels taken over?. If so, the loud bang you will soon hear will be my head exploding.

If Kubrick, Polanski, Hitchock, and Tarantino had a twisted little baby, his name would most likely have been Stanislas Cordova. A genius who gained fame immediately after his first horror film release – Cordova has spent his life in exile on his private estate (hmmmmm, maybe Marlon Brando had a part of this baby-making process too) making additional films and only interacting with the lucky (?) ones who receive an invitation.

Scott McGrath is an investigative journalist who watched his career, and a good chunk of money, go up in flames after publishing an article outlining the real life creepery that Cordova was engaging in – and using only an anonymous John Doe as his source.

Now Cordova’s daughter has apparently committed suicide and McGrath finds himself desperate to find the truth about the recluse’s life once again.

First impression – the physical weight of this book was notable and upon opening it the paper felt exquisite. Weird, huh? But seriously even if you don’t want to read this book, feel the paper. From the jumpstart you dive in to this amazing graphic element of photos, articles, notes left on scraps of paper, etc. By Page 30 I thought I was reading something gooooooood.

Unfortunately, by Page 200 the tides had turned. What started as potentially one of the best mysteries in a long time quickly petered out and morphed into an unending loop of touring New York City and surrounding areas. The trail of breadcrumbs I thought I was following, didn’t lead to a loaf of bread – just MORE BREADCRUMBS and by the time the book was over, I was exhausted. And dare I forget to mention the italics. Oh for Christ’s sake, the misuse of italics had my brain absolutely SCREAMING at me that I was reading passages incorrectly. Ummm, no brain, she’s writing it wrong. Go argue with the author.

To use Pessl’s own words: “The rush of solving these last few mysteries was almost immediately replaced with something else, a sense of hollowness, even grief. I felt let down . . . The desolation came from the realization that all of the kirin were dead. They’d never existed in the first place. Because, however much I might not want to face it, wanting something larger than life . . . for some other tempestuous reality that defied reason, alive with trolls and devils, shadows that had minds of their own, black magic as powerful as H-bombs . . . The truth razed everything . . . I was actually standing on flat dry land, which was blindingly lit, but barren.”

And that’s it folks. This book left me feeling like I’d wasted nearly a week of my life only to end up feeling completely barren.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,472 reviews9,647 followers
July 18, 2017
Update: $1.99 on Kindle in the US today. I'm not sure if they will have all of the pictures like my paperback does but I think you can look inside the kindle book on Amazon. 7-18-17

I am adding a good bit of pictures from the book to my review. There are too many to show them all but I wanted you to get an idea. They are not the greatest of pictures but I hope you enjoy them because it took quite a bit of time to get this set up. ****SOME MILD SPOILERS****

The book centers around Ashley Cordova's death. She was the the daughter of the macabre film maker, Stanislas Cordova. She's said to have jumped down an elevator shaft in an abandoned building. But did she? This whole book is a question within a question in my opinion.

 :

Scott McGrath is a journalist who got in trouble years ago when he tried going after Cordova for other things. Now, he's on the case again to find out what happened to Ashley. He ends up getting some sidekicks, Nora and Hopper. They both have some connections to Ash but some more than others. I loved them all together but Nora is my favorite character in the book.

There is a creepy website where fans can go and write things about Cordova's films etc. Nora managed to get Scott hacked in a sense into the website but if you are found out as a fake they boot you right out. There were a few disturbing things on the site but it adds to the mystery of the freaks and what not.

 :

 :

The picture below is speculated to be Cordova's son Theo who came running out of the woods needing to get to the hospital because he managed to cut his fingers off. Cordova put him in the film and later took him to the hospital where they could not re-attach the fingers. I mean ewwww.

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Creepiness continues . . .

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Ooops, you were found out!

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This next picture is of Inez Gallo, she ran everything for Cordova. He never appears in public and there are a few questionable pictures of him. He wanted to remain out of the public eye in more ways than one.

 :

Everything about Cordova himself is a mystery. Scott, Nora and Hopper had a very hard time finding things out about him in particular.

 :

Cordova had a home he lived in with his family and where he made his films. There was a 20 foot military fence around the whole property, for reasons.

 :

Scott and Nora act like a father and daughter that go to the mental facility where Ashley was reported breaking out of right before her death. It went okay until they found them out. But Nora found a very creepy picture of Ashley and stole it.

She rummaged through her purse and handed me a colored photograph. I assumed she was showing me a member of her family, but then realized with surprise it was a photo of Ashley.

Her gray eyes, hollowed by dark circles, seemed to fasten onto me.

"When I disappeared from the tour of Briarwood and got in trouble? That's what I went back to get. I saw it on those bulletin boards by the dining hall under 'Weekly Picnic.' It's her, isn't it?"

Le cara de la muerte, the Waldorf maid had said. 'The face of death.

I understood what she meant.


 :

 :

This is a supposed picture of Cordova with his mom when he was a baby.

 :

The rest are just some random pictures.

 :

 :

 :

 :

The ending I never saw coming. Not one bit. It's bizarre and sad and understandable. And I will miss Scott, Nora and Hopper.



"Where the mermaids sing." I added quietly, reminded of the Prufrock poem. As Hopper had explained it, the mermaids were the one thing the family was always seeking out, always fighting for--life's most stunning and precarious razor edge. Where there was danger and beauty and light. Only the now. Ashley said it was the only way to live.

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for j e w e l s.
309 reviews2,374 followers
May 26, 2018
FIVE STARS
NO SPOILERS. I PROMISE!

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 self after reading this one.

Let me correct the last part of that sentence. You do not simply read Night Film. Before you open this book, take a moment to prepare yourself.

You are about to enter into a multi-media, multi-sensory whole body experience. GET READY FOR A black magic curse to be cast on your soul!!!

SIDE EFFECTS OF THE CURSE: You will know nothing but Night Film. Think of nothing but Night Film. If you do sleep, your dreams will be the creepy, dark type. You start to feel you are being watched. You will dig out your long lost pepper spray and start carrying it with you on walks. You will find yourself googling Stanislas Cordova. Was he actually given the 1980 Oscar for Best Director by the lovely Goldie Hawn?

YES! YOU KNOW IT’S FICTIONAL, BUT YOUR MIND WON’T ACCEPT THE FACT. It is presented in such a realistic manner with authentic photos, videos, and articles from Vanity Fair, The Rolling Stone, Time Magazine and The New York Times. There are police reports, artifacts, and interview transcriptions to help with your investigation. It’s one thing to read about a haunting photo, but to have that photo to study for yourself? Genius.

PLOT SUMMARY: The daughter of a reclusive horror-film director Stanislas Cordova is found dead, and fallen journalist Scott McGrath falls into a maddening wormhole of trying to uncover the truth behind the girl’s murder. Night Film gets darker and more twisted the deeper McGrath ventures into Cordova’s world—the man hasn’t been seen in public in 30 years, and his films are so horrifying that it’s believed the person who created them must be seriously disturbed as well.

The book is bone-chilling scary, but not in an obvious slasher way. The author creates and instills just enough fear to make your imagination run away with a suitcase and never come back. This is a major theme of Night Film: the power of imagination and the human mind which seeks to bridge the gap between the two. When faced with the unknown, we tend to look for answers in religion or just plain old superstitions. Can our fears all be explained in concrete, provable terms? Does evil always have to have a reason to exist? Pessl doesn’t give us all the answers and that’s why every person that reads Night Film will take away something different. I love that.

A genre-bending book, I have no idea how it to classify it justly. I would recommend it first and foremost for the murder investigation at the heart of the plot. From the prologue until the bitter end, discovering what really happened to Ashley Cordova will keep you turning the pages all night. Now, add in the multi-media presentation because that greatly enhances the story and experience. This technique is unique without being gimmicky, and is truly original. Next, sprinkle in some Stephen King horror elements and just a touch of the supernatural (voodoo curses)–voila! You have Night Film.

This is not a perfect book, much as I want all my favorites to be. It is a bit too long and the ending is not as satisfying as it could be. But, these minor points are easily overcome by Pessl’s fabulous writing style. She reminds me of my two spirit animals, Gillian Flynn and Tana French, writing in a fluid, descriptive manner. Her characters are fleshed out, the plot is addictive and the mood she sets? Wow. Dark, haunting, sobering.

I began this book on audio. I quickly realized I needed to see written words, since this is a complex GIANT novel. It was only then that I understood how much I would have missed by sticking only with audio! I hadn’t read a ton of reviews and I didn’t even know about the multi-media part of the book. Trust me! This is where the magic happens! You feel like you are right there on the case with Scott McGrath, studying clues and helping to solve the twisted Cordova mystery.

The Kindle multi-media version is amazing and when coupled with the astonishingly good audio, well, you can understand why I had to recover a day when I finished. If you are open to a bit of horror in your psychologically twisty/crime fiction mysteries, this is the book for you. I can’t recommend it enough!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,535 reviews32.7k followers
September 6, 2020
huh. not sure what to think about this one. im tentatively rating this, but it very well could change. while i think i liked this overall, there are some parts i didnt.

i LOVED the interactive portion of this story. i found the online webpages, pictures, case files, news articles, and other documents to be extremely effective, immersive, and highly entertaining. they add much needed depth to a pretty singular story and makes it feel incredibly realistic.

while the writing is actually pretty good, the story itself is pretty one-dimensional. its as if the story is told through a tiny lens and only focuses on what is visible, with everything else surrounding the story left in the dark, considered irrelevant. add to that the overwhelming length and this makes a very tedious read. and im still not sure if it all paid off in the end.

so some good, some bad. but im walking away with a somewhat positive feeling overall.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,621 followers
February 17, 2018
مزيج جهنمي رهيب من التوتر، الرعب، الريبة، الإنتقام وسحر السينما
من الأخلاص،التسامح ومشاعر صارت نادرة بعالمنا المادي التجاري

رواية ضخمة، 599 صفحة ستنقلك لحالة غريبة محورها مخرج سينمائي مثير للجدل..مخرج كهؤلاء العمالقة الغرباء

ولكنه أكثر ظلاما وجنونا..إنه ستانليس كوردوفا..الذي ستشعر كأنك تعيش فعلا في أحد أفلامه..الفيـلم الليـلي
~~سبع علامات تحدد ان كان يناسبك دخول ومشاهدة الف��لم الليلي~~
***إن كنت من هواة سحر السينما،وعباقرة المخرجين بالاخص أولئك ذوي الأسرار،وافلامهم التي تقتحم النفس البشرية
“I love to put my characters in the dark, it's only then that I can see exactly who they are”
***إن كنت من هواة روايات المحقق الخاص،بالاخص من نوعية الذئب المتوحد من قد يضيع حياته من اجل تحقيق ضخم
“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.’ ”

***إن كنت من هواة اجواء السحر الاسود والتعاويذ،المس الشيطاني والطقوس الغريبة، حتي ان كنت لا تؤمن بهذا الهراء
“Everyone has a Cordova story, whether they like it or not.”

***إن كنت من هواة أن تجد محققك الخاص المفضل متورطا رغما عنه مع شريك في تحقيقاته، شخصيته مختلفة تماما عنه
“I hate how the people who really get you are the ones you can never hold on to for very long. And the ones who don’t understand you at all stick around.”

***إن كنت لا تمانع بعض المواقف الساخرة عن الحياة المعاصرة وجمودها،بعض المواقف المضيئة لمعني العائلة، الصداقة والإخلاص
“We’re living longer, we social network alone with our screens, and our depth of feeling gets shallower.”

“With the iPiano, anyone can be an iMozart. Then, you could compose your own iRequiem for your own iFuneral attended by millions of your iFriends who iLoved you.”

***ان كنت لا تمانع الكثير والكثير من الاستطرادات عن وصف الاماكن واجواء نيويورك وأحيائها ،وكذلك المزيد عن ماضي الشخصيات وحكاويهم ،بل والاهم، حكايات عن افلام ونجوم هوليوود التي لا تنتهي بالاخص افلام كوردوفا
“This is New York. If people found out worshipping the devil actually worked, every ambitious type A would be practicing it in their studio apartments.”

***وبالطبع ان كنت لا تمانع ان تكون تلك الحكاوي مصحوبة بالصور بداخل صفحات الكتاب، صور فوتوغرافية، صور مقالات من الانترنت او المجلات والجرائد، صور ملفات تحقيقات ، بل ويمكنك عمل مسح ضوئي لبعض تلك الصور للحصول علي المزيد من الصور من الانترنت،المقاطع الصوتية وحتي المزيد من الحكايات والقصص

***********
حسنا، إذا وصلت لهذا الجزء، فيبدو عليك الاقتناع لحد ما بالرواية ،دعني اصحبك لبعض احداثها من خلال الشخصيات، دون حرق بالطبع فهي رواية مثيرة لا تخلو من المفاجآت حتي نهايتها
واعدك ان تجربتك بها ستظل تفكر بها طويلا
من الشخصيات الغامضة، والبناء الممتاز التشويقي للقصة
الوصف الذي يجعلك بداخل تلك الاماكن او تتجول بشوارع واحياء نيويورك كمانهاتن وشايناتاون
بعض المشاهد المقبضة الغريبة، والحوار الذي به طابع السخرية اللاذعة لما آل عليه مجتماعتنا
وحتي المشاعر الانسانية الجميلة التي ستلمسها رغم كل هذه الغرائبية

بالرغم من الاحداث كلها منذ البداية يرويها البطل نفسه،تدور من وجهة نظره،إلا انك ستجد ثراء في باقي الشخصيات الرئيسية بالاحداث وستشعر كأنك تتعرف عليهم حقا وتعيش معهم

لقد شعرت كانني في داخل احداث الرواية..في فيلم ليلي فعلا، كانني في فيلما من اخراج هذا الكوردوفا
وهكذا غالبا سيشعر ابطال الرواية كلهم
لان كلا منا في الحياة له قصة من قصص كوردوفا

~~~~~~~الشـخـصيـات~~~~~~~
*****************

ستانليس كوردوفا


الغائب الحاضر طوال الاحداث
هو عبقري آخر من نوعية هيتشكوك،كوارتينو،كوبريك وديفيد لينش
سحرة السينما، أولئك الذين يتوغلون لمجاهل النفس البشرية ويصورون ظلماتها
كوردوفا له طابع خاص مظلم في افلامه، له الكثير من المعجبين، بل المهووسين باستخراج رموز افلامه الغريبة


The Artists who made the amazing Directors' Portraits here
and here

ستتعرف علي حكايات معظم افلامه من خلال الاحداث بشكل مختصر ،اعدك ان كنت واسع الخيال مثلي ستشعر بانك شاهت الفيلم كاملا في ذهنك من خلال الأحداث
واذا قمت بالمسح الضوئي لبعض الصور الملحقة بالرواية ستشاهد بوسترات اعماله السينمائية كلها، وكذلك بعض صور من فيلمه الاشهر
Love Child

والذي، بمناسبة الحكاوي، يروي حكاية عاهرة سابقة متزوجة من رجل محترم ،تتلقي رسائل الكترونية من شخص غامض يهددها بفضح وكشف ماضيها لزوجها والمجتمع، لتقوم في يوم واحد هي احداث الفيلم بتعقب المبتز بالرغم من الخطف والتعذيب والمطاردات ولكنها تنجح في الانتقام منه لتعود ليلا، تحرق ملابسها في الساحة الخلفية للمنزل المليئة بالطين والدماء، وتتسلل للبيت للنوم بجوار زوجها الغافي الذي لا يدري شيئًا عن ماضيها، ولا احداث يومها الدموي ذاك

ذلك ،وغيره من الأفلام قد يبين لك نوعية مايدور بعقل العبقري كوردوفا من افكار
يعتبر كوردوفا منعزلا عن الصحافة والاعلام بل والمجتمع السينمائي منذ 1977،اخر حوار له لمجلة شهيرة حقيقية بعد وفاة زوجته الاولي، ولكنه ظل يخرج اعمالا فنية من خلال قصره المنعزل في اطراف مدينة نيويورك والملحق به استوديو ضخم..ولكن فقط حتي اخر افلامه في 1996

لا احد من نجوم افلامه بتحدث عن تجربته معه باي الاحاديث الصحفية والاعلامية، بل وبعضهم يعتزل العمل الفني بعدها...بعضهم فقط يختفي عن الاضواء
وربما ، احيانا، يختفي نهائيا
عزلته وغموضه، بالاضافة لأفلامه النفسية المعقدة هي ما يلهب خيال عشاق افلامه، وحتي منتقديه ومنهم سكوت ماكجراث
سكوت ماكجراث

هو بطل الاحداث، الراوي، التي تدور الاحداث من وجهة نظره
صحفي التحقيقات الأشهر، اشتهر بتحقيقاته حول عالم البنوك وكروت الائتمان، تجار المخدرات ، وغيرها من التحقيقات الناجحة
كان لديه في 2004 محاولة لاختراق اسرار المخرج كوردوفا ليكشف سر عزلته والأقاويل حول الآثار السلبية الناتجة عن افلامه التي بجانب غرابة مصائر ابطاله، ادت لأحد المختلين في ارتكاب جرائم قتل شبيهة لما قدمه كوردوفا في احد افلامه
يصله مكالمة من مجهول، تؤدي لزيادة شكوكه حول ذلك المخرج المريب وتلهب حماسة لمتابعة تحقيقه عنه، ولكنه يصطدم بمفاجاة تطيح بسمعته الصحفية، وحتي حياته الشخصية بسبب تلك التحقيقات
لينفصل عن زوجته ويكاد لا يري ابنته الا في مواعيد تحددها المحكمة
ليصبح موصوما بفضيحة صحفية يخسر بسببها الكثير من شعبيته ويصير ذئبا متوحدا بحق

ويغلق تماما التحقيقات حول كوردوفا، الذي بسببه بشكل غير مباشر دمر حياته
ولكن تبدأ الاحداث بعدها بسبع سنوات...عندما يقرأ خبر اشلي كوردوفا
اشلي كوردوفا


غائب حاضر اخر بالاحداث
ابنة المخرج المراهقة ، تعثر الشرطة علي جثتها في الرابع عشر من اكتوبر 2011 في بئر مصعد بمخزن مهجور بمانهاتان
وتثبت التحقيقات إنها ماتت منتحرة
ولكن ليس سكوت ماكجراث

مدفوعا برغبة في الانتقام وكشف غموض المخرج الذي دمر حياته ،يبدأ سكوت التحقيق سرا بالبحث عن كل تحركاتها في الفترة التي سبقت وفاتها لتيقنه أن لغموض وظلام أبيها دور في مصرعها

ليتعرف علي حياة اشلي من خلال التحقيقات، طفولتها كمعجزة فنية في عزف البيانو ، تبعتها حياة مراهقة انتهت بغتة ككل شئ بحياتها القصيرة المليئة بالغموض،الاضطرابات النفسية، سحر اسود وربما مس شيطاني
حياة حافلة متعددة معقدة ذات اكثر من جانب مختلف..متضارب احيانا.. يتعرف عليها من كل من اقترب منها ولو بشكل بسيط

لم تكشف تحقيقات الشرطة عن اي احد شاهد اشلي قبيل مصرعها بعدة ساعات سوي حاملة معاطف بقاعة فندق..نورا هاليداي
نورا هاليداي


شريكة في التحقيقات رغما عن رغبة سكوت ماكجراث
فتاة غريبة الاطوار، تعشق الفن والتمثيل ، ذات ماض معقد حزين، كل ماتملكه في الحياة مجموعة ازياء من حقبة تسعينات القرن الماضي صاحبها كان مروض احصنة شاذ يهوي إرتداء الملابس النسائية، وكل من لها في الحياة بغبغاء عجوز توارثته اجيال، يشك سكوت ماكجراث انه يجلب الحظ السئ
ربما لنشاتها في دار مسنين "تيرا هيرموسا"، او ربما لموهبتها التمثيلية التي تجعل اقل الممثلين يتقلبون في قبورهم ضجرا -علي الشغلانة اللي لمت- ستشعر بانها لمسة إنسانية مميزة بالاحداث بكل حكاويها علي معايشتها مع كبار السن والمسنين

كانت تعمل كحاملة معاطف بقاعة مطعم بفندق، وعلي حسب التحقيقات فهي من اخذ معطف اشلي عندما حضرت لقاعة الفندق قبل مصرعها بساعات قليلة لتخرج بعدها بقليل مسرعة دون حتي ان تاخذ معطفها

لهذا قابلها سكوت ماكجراث اثناء تحقيقاته ليعرف لماذا اتت اشلي لقاعة الفندق ثم غادرت مسرعة، و تصمم نورا علي ان ترافق سكوت في التحقيقات لمجرد انها تملك معطف اشلي كوردوفا ،حيث احتفظت به وبدلته حين طلبته شرطة التحقيقات
هذا المعطف الاحمر سيكون له دورا مساعدا في تحقيقات سكوت
ولكن ما السبب الحقيقي وراء إصرار نورا علي مشاركة سكوت التحقيقات...هذا ما عليه ان يكتشفه
ويكتشف ايضا سر اصرارها علي ان يشاركهم طرفا ثالثا قابلوه اثناء التحقيق حيث عثر عليه سكوت يحوم حول المكان الذي انتحرت فيه اشلي
هوبر كول
هوبر كول

مراهق من نفس عمر اشلي، يكتشف سكوت ماكجراث انه كان يعرف اشلي معرفة سطحية من خلال معسكر تخييم اصلاحي للمراهقين كانا به سويا
ياتي له طرد بلا أسم، به دمية قديمة غريبة من عنوان غامض، يكتشف انه عنوان المستودع الذي انتحرت فيه اشلي
فما علاقتها بالطرد، ولماذا يشعر سكوت ما��جراث انه يخفي اكثر مما يحكي
ولماذا يصر ذلك الشاب المراهق اللاهي الاشتراك والالتزام مع سكوت ماكجراث في التحقيقات

هناك وشم غريب وجده الطب الشرعي بجسد آشلي , وشم لحيوان اسطوري اسيوي "الكيرين" الذي يرمز ظهوره للأنتقام للمظلومين

فما معني ذلك؟ ومامعني الدمية العجيبة التي تم ارسالها لهوبر
وهل سينجح، هو و نورا، في مساعدة سكوت في كشف الحقيقة ولو بابسط شكل، أم لن ينجحا إلا في عرقلته؟

كل هذه الشخصيات سواء بحضورها في الاحداث او ��ج��د التحقيق ورائها ستتشابك في تلك القصة الجهنمية
التحقيق في مصرع اشلي
لتصطدم بكل الاحداث الغريبة والمرعبة وحتي الانسانية
وكأي فيلما يحترم نفسه، ستجد المطاردات، قصص الحب، هلوسات ومفاجات تقلب الاحداث

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
مشاهد لا تفوتك في الفيلم الليلي
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

***** مشاهد محل بيع ادوات السحر بنيويورك *****
*********** Enchantments ***********

يمكنك ان تتخيل مدي دهشتي لاكتشاف ان هذا المحل موجود فعلا في الحقيقة كما كنت استشعر ذلك حقا، عثرت علي صوره وموقعه خلال كتابة الريفيو وهو بالظبط كما تصورته من خلال الوصف بالرواية


ويمكنك شراء الشموع التي تبطل الاعمال السفلية اونلاين، بالطبع ان لم توقفها الجمارك
المشاهد التي بهذا المحل بالرواية كانت كئيبة ومقبضة بنفس الوقت وبها الكثير من الاشارات لاشياء حقيقة تستخدم في السحر الاسود علي مر التاريخ ، كتراب المقابر والطلاسم والتي قد تذكرك بالاعمال السفلية الشهيرة بمصر وبعض الدول العربية


***** مشهد الملهي الليلي السري *****
********** Oubliette **********
يا الله علي هذا المكان الذي سيستغرق منك وقتا لاستيعاب تصميمه وجغرافيته
مكان مثير بحق ،ويستحق عناء محاولة تخيل هذا الملهي الليلي الذي يشبه وجودك في حديقة مفتوحة بالنهار ،مليئة بالنباتات الاستوائية والاعمدة الرومانية بالرغم من انك بداخل ملهي ليلي مغلق


***** مشاهد استوديوهات تصوير كوردوفا *****


رحلة غريبة ودوار سيصحبك خلال تلك المشاهد، مع الكثير من قصص افلام كوردوفا
العجيب أن تلك الرحلة يختلط بها الحقائق مع الهلوسة بشكل يصيبك بدوار حقيقي , حتي الجزء نفسه يبدأ بصفحة سوداء تماما وينتهي بمثيلتها..وتتوقف فيه حتي ترقيم الفصول!! ألم أقل لك أنها رحلة غريبة؟

هذا بخلاف الكثير من مشاهد ردود افعال بعض الشخصيات وايماءتها ونظراتها ستثلج ظهرك وقت قراءتها في كثير من الاحيان ،لااعتقد اني ساستطيع حصرها وايضا كي لا احرق الاحداث
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
جمل لا تنسي
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

كما قلت الرواية بها شئ من السخرية اللاذعة لمجتمعنا المادي التجاري
ربما كان من ميزة افلام كوردوفا هي انها تفتح عينيك التي يغمضها لك قسرا المجتمع التجاري، تفتح عينيك علي حقيقة الحياة والبشر

وقد تضمنت الرواية علي لسان سكوت ماكجراث الكثير من تلك الجمل الساخرة التي زادت من اعجابي بشخصيته
“God, the boring relative everyone ignores—no one calls, no one writes—until they need a serious favor.”
“It appeared in the Internet age, pianos, like physical books, were fast becoming culturally extinct. They'd probably stay that way unless Apple invented the iPiano, which fit inside your pocket and could be mastered via text message. With the iPiano, anyone can be an iMozart. Then, you could compose your own iRequiem for your own iFuneral attended by millions of your iFriends who iLoved you.”

صديقه الأكاديمي العاشق للسينما بالأخص افلام كوردوفا
“Have you seen the world lately, McGrath? The cruelty, the lack of connection? If you're an artist, I'm sure you can't help but wonder what it's all for. We're living longer, we social network alone with our screens, and our depth of feeling gets shallower. Soon it'll be nothing but a tide pool, then a thimble of water, then a micro drop.”

ولا ننسي حوار كوردوفا والذي بمقدمة الرواية
“Mortal fear is as crucial a thing to our lives as love. It cuts to the core of our being and shows us what we are. Will you step back and cover your eyes? Or will you have the strength to walk to the precipice and look out? Do you want to know what is there or live in the dark delusion that this commercial world insists we remain sealed inside like blind caterpillars in an eternal cocoon? Will you curl up with your eyes closed and die? Or can you fight your way out of it and fly?
—STANISLAS CORDOVA Rolling Stone, December 29, 1977”

ولكن الاكثر شاعرية وانسانية منها كانت جمل نورا ، ذات الماضي الذي قد يبدو لك بائسا ولكنه جعلها تفهم الحياة ربما افضل من سكوت ماكجراث الذي هو في ضعف عمرها
“It's a terrible thing, to lie. It's a field you keep seeding and watering and plowing, but nothing will ever grow on it.”

علاقتها مع سكوت واشتراكها في التحقيقات برغم غموض دوافعه كانت اكثر من رائعة.. وكثرة أشاراتها لتيرا هيرموسا , منزل العجزة كان يجعلني دائما ابتسم واحزن بنفس الوقت
“Don’t cook for me. Or clean. This is a black-and-white working relationship.”
“It’s just eggs.”
“I’m forty-three. I don’t need help feeding myself.”
“Not yet. There was this man, Cody Johnson, at Terra Hermosa? He showed signs of dementia around thirty-nine.”
“I think I’ve heard this story before. He died alone?”
“Everyone dies alone.”
There was little to add to that. Whenever the girl brought up Terra Hermosa it was like spraying DDT on the conversation—an instant killer.

“You remind me of this man back at Terra Hermosa.”
“What the hell’s Terra Hermosa?”
“A retirement community. His name was Hank Weed. At mealtimes he’d always take the good table by the window and put his walker against the empty seat so no one else could sit down and see the view. He died like that.”
I didn’t answer, silenced by the sudden realization that I had absolutely no idea if any of what came out of this girl’s mouth was true. Maybe she was really good at improv. I couldn’t be certain she was nineteen or that her name really was Nora Halliday.

وحتي كليو , صاحبة محل السحر العجيب
“A Tornado knocks a house down, killing the owner, and it’s a tragedy. Then you learn a serial killer lived there and the same act becomes a miracle. The truth about what happens to us in this world keeps changing. Always. It never stops. Sometimes not even after death.”


واخيرا
"مقارنات لابد منها"
*********


المؤلفة بارعة في اللغة وهو ما ارهقني في ترجمة كثير من الكلمات بالبداية حتي اعتدت اسلوبها ،ذكرتني كثيرا باسلوب جي كي رولينج بالاخص في الاستطرادات الكثيرة والوصف في الاماكن والتعمق في الشخصيات

الغريب في الامر ان تصدر تلك الرواية في خلال شهرين فحسب من صدور
The Cuckoo's Calling
لجي كي رولينج، بالتحديد في 16 يوليو 2013، نفس تاريخ صدور خبر معرفة حقيقة مؤلفة الرواية الاولي
للمزيد راجع ريفيو نداء الكوكو
المصادفة تأتي ان كلا الروايتين بهما محقق يحقق في حقيقة حادث انتحار فتاة شابة شهيرة، وكلاهما يتصادف ان يقع في طريقه بشكل غير متوقع مساعدة تشاركه في التحقيقات
كلا المحققان لهما حياة شخصية عاطفية مدمرة، ذئبان متوحدان ، وربما لهذا تخيلت سكوت ماكجراث كهيو جاكمان تماما كما تخيلت كورموران سترايك، مع تغيير طابعه للاستايل الامريكي بدلا من الانجليزي
كلا الروايتان مختلفتان تماما في ما عدا هذا من حالة المحققان المادية وحتي تفاصيل كل الاحداث وطابع الرواية، لا يتشابهان بعد ذلك سوي في دقة رسم الاحداث والشخصيات والاماكن ، لندن في الاولي و نيويورك بالثانية

Lair of Dreams ايضا كان مثيرا ان يتصادف قرائتي للرواية قبل
The Diviners الجزء الثاني من
والتي تدور ايضا بنفس اماكن التي تدور بها احداث الفيلم الليلي من مانهاتان وشايناتاون ،ولكن قبلها بحوالي 90 عاما

كما ان اسلوب الرواية الذي يضم صور من مجلات ومطبوعات شبيه لنفس طراز رواية
The Supernatural Enhancements
وان كانت الاخيرة تعتمد فقط علي الصور وتفريغات المحادثات والكاميرات في السرد ،وليس الراوي كما في الفيلم الليلي
ولكن بسببها تم ترشيح رواية الفيلم الليلي لي لتشابه الفكرة

وايضا هناك تشابهه بينها وبين The Calling

حيث هناك روابط تنقلك علي مواقع علي الانترنت لمعلومات اضافية عن الاحداث حيث مثلا ستستمع لمقطع صوتي لتوزيع جوائز الاوسكار مثلا والتي وصفتها المؤلفة ضمن الأحداث

مقطع صوتي من رواية مسموعة تم ذكرها في الاحداث, ستستمع للفصل الأول منها بصوت عجيب مقبض بارع في القاء القصة بشكل جهنمي

وغيرها الكثير , ولكن الفرق انها تعمل عن طريق برنامج ماسح ضوئي علي الهواتف الذكية والتابلت


في النهاية هي رواية قد ترهقك في البداية لكنها رواية تستحق القراءة
ومهما شعرت ان وقت قراءتها قد يزيد عن وقت قراءة روايات اخري بنفس الحجم الا انك لن تود ان ينتهي الفيلم الليلي ابدا

وستظل تطاردك كثيرا كما طاردت أشلي سكوت ماكجراث

سيظل يطاردك أسئلة كثيرة
الانتقام ام التسامح؟
العيش في خوف من السحر والشيطان ام التحرر من الخوف وقهره؟
هل مازال هناك مشاعر حقيقية بعالمنا المادي التجاري البحت؟
هل هناك صداقة؟ تعاطف؟ أم الأنتقام وسواده وعبادة الشيطان والمادة أعمتنا؟

اذا اردت ان تقترب اكثر من تلك الأسئلة , فلا تدع الفيلم الليلي يفوتك

محمد العربي
مشاهدة
من 16 نوفمبر 2015
الي 28 نوفمبر 2015
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
August 11, 2018
 photo RedCoat_zpsfbdlc4xl.jpg

”Whatever the truth about Cordova, within fifteen horrifying films, he taught us how our eyes and minds perpetually deceive us--that what we know to be certain never is.”

In the shadows stood a girl in a red coat.

Stanislas Cordova disappeared from public life thirty years ago. Scott McGrath, an investigative reporter, made an attempt to uncover the truth about Cordova and his films. McGrath paid a heavy price financially when Cordova sued him, and also professionally when some of his allegations proved to be based on chimeric evidence.

It wasn’t that he was necessarily wrong; it was just that he couldn’t conclusively prove he was right.

The Cordova films are fascinating, disturbing, and not readily available. Part of the lure of them is that basically the only way you can see them is from the original film canisters or from bootlegged VCR tapes. Cordova film watching parties are thrown, but the people invited to those parties are those exclusively hip enough to know that watching a Cordova film should be on their bucket list.

So who is Cordova? A question that McGrath keeps asking those few who knew him who are willing to talk. ”He was the vampire. He made you feel like he loved you, like you were the dearest person in the world to him; all the while he was sucking you dry, leeching your life out of you. You’d spend an hour with him. Afterward, you were a carcass. You lost all sense of yourself, all dimension, as if there were no difference between you and the chair you were sitting in. He’d be more alive, of course, invigorated for a week, writing, filming, insatiable, so wildly alive. Art, language, food, men, women---they had to be constantly fed to him as if he were a ravenous beast that could barely be contained within human walls. There was no end to his appetites.”

 photo Ashley20Cordova_zpsr6czplmt.jpg

When Ashley Cordova, the filmmaker’s daughter, commits suicide by hurling herself off a building, McGrath, despite still recovering from his last losing bout against Cordova, senses that finally he has a line of inquiry that might lead him to vindication.

He is convinced that Cordova is evil, and his daughter’s death can’t possibly be a coincidence.

McGrath traces Ashley’s final days as she goes from rehab to lockdown to living in a dilapidated building. He picks up a Scooby Gang of a girl named Nora and the “loneliest boy in the world” named Hopper. Both are marginally connected to Ashley. Like everyone else that met Ashley, even in the briefest of situations, Nora and Hopper were profoundly changed by meeting her. There was something strange about the girl with the red coat, the girl with the piercing gaze, the girl who played piano like Mozart and who was so strikingly beautiful that men and women found her irresistible.

She was smart and profoundly sad.

She was a bird chained to a life that even in death one wonders if she could ever fly far enough away to escape.

As McGrath continues to investigate, tirelessly tracking down anyone who once worked with Cordova he starts to unravel more and more madness. Madness that spills into his own mind. ”My memories seemed to have been trashed, ripped and crumpled, strewn haphazardly around my head.”

Cordova without ever meeting McGrath has a finger stirring in the journalist’s mind. The Filmmaker has spent a lifetime manipulating people, conjuring up demented versions of the truth, and using his sinister intelligence to control every situation. Life, for Cordova,is but a larger version of a movie set. McGrath and his gang, not surprisingly, are overmatched at every turn. The question is how far will McGrath take this quest? Can he catch a phantom? Is Cordova even Cordova anymore? Does the need for revenge outweigh the need for the truth?

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Marisha Pessl has written a compelling story where she makes the reader feel s/he is directly involved with the investigation. She does this by sharing the screenshots of the research documents that the team finds on the web and the pages of the police dossiers that a McGrath mole shares with them. Witnesses disappear almost as quickly as they are found. No one can give McGrath a clear and distinct picture of Cordova, his Moriarty. The slivers and crumbs of information he collects only create a puzzle without edges that spiral him deeper into a black hexagon of his own lunacy.

And all along in the shadows stood a girl in a red coat.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,843 followers
January 22, 2019
My brain hurts

It was a dark and stormy night, etc. etc. etc. Everything you think is happening, is actually not and everything that might be, never was.



Join in the mystical vortex of dark cinema, arcane magic, creepy asylums, abandoned estates, human sacrifice, drug addicted-washed up movie stars, black market voodoo, and death - cleansing, therapeutic death. While nature has it's way with the mortal bodies, demons haunt the immortal soul.



Solve the mystery or be a part of it - will you come out of the book the same as you went in? Unlikely. Let's just hope the damage isn't permanent.



Call me when it all makes sense

Leave a message at the tone

Good night

Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,829 followers
November 28, 2015
Either I’m a lot dumber than I thought, or this book isn’t as smart as it thinks it is. Or maybe both. Ambiguity! It’s a bitch.

Scott McGrath used to be a hotshot investigative journalist until he started looking into mysterious and reclusive film director Stanilas Cordova who has been holed up in his remote estate making underground masterpieces of suspense that seem to ruin the lives of almost everyone involved with them. (Think M. Night Shyamalan before we all realized that he actually sucks.)

McGrath trashed his career by making accusations against Cordova based on a single source he didn’t verify. When Cordova’s talented daughter Ashley commits suicide by leaping down an elevator shaft in an abandoned building McGrath decides that he can vindicate himself by looking into her death as a way into once again digging into Cordova’s life. Circumstances force McGrath into a reluctant partnership with a shady young man with a personal connection to Ashley and a young actress wannabe who met the doomed woman shortly before she died.

That’s when things start getting weird. Is Cordova a brilliant but eccentric filmmaker, or is he an evil puppet master willing and capable of destroying people’s lives via unknown forces? Was Ashley just a confused young woman who met an untimely end, or was she stalked by supernatural evil brought about somehow by her father? McGrath’s investigation dumps him into a maze that leaves him questioning reality itself.

As a kid growing up in the ‘70s there were some horror movies that took on an almost legendary quality back in those pre-Internet days. You’d hear adults talking about something called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and someone with wide eyes would confidently assert in a whisper that it was based on a true story. Or some kid at school would tell you that that his brother had told him that the devil was actually in The Exorcist. There’s a story in my family about how my aunt was so terrified after seeing The Shining that she demanded that my uncle take her to another movie immediately afterwards because she was positive that she wouldn’t be able to sleep for days if she didn’t do something to try and get it out of her head that very second.

That’s the power that horror movies used to have, and I think a lot of that has been lost in these days of DVD directors' commentaries and IMDB trivia pages. What I liked a lot about Night Film is that it seemed to recapture some of that old spirit. One of the creepiest aspects was that idea that a movie can be dangerous because some filmmakers are so deranged and/or tapped into something strange that could literally cause psychological damage to a viewer. Cordova as this mysterious figure whose films inspire underground viewings and a cult following was suitably spooky and unsettling. There’s an underlying theme of hidden worlds that can be accessed or expressed via film that I would have liked more of.

I think where I ran into problems personally is that the book tries to have it both ways. It’s functioning on some levels as a pretty standard thriller, and if you judge it like that, I found things like the characters actions and plot machinations kind of cliched. However, if you look at it as more of a David Lynch kind of experience, something where the normal rules get checked at the door, then it feels more ambitious and even a little dangerous.

Yet, it doesn’t seem to want to just dive in and go bananas either. It was almost like the grounding of the story dug in a little too much and started to feel like an anchor that really didn’t let the weird aspects hit their fullest potential. It’s hard to explain without writing an entire essay about the plot. I can sum it up by saying that while I know the story is about the ambiguity of walking through the shadows, I think it either needed to turn the lights completely on or off at some point. Which isn’t entirely fair because it’s obvious that the author was trying to walk that line and does it pretty well, but for me I would have liked a bit more commitment one way or another.

One other note about the multimedia aspects. The book has a lot of graphics in the form of pictures, news stories, and web pages, and I downloaded the app that lets you scan some of these that provides bonus content like audio recordings or a diary of a character. That was generally well done as a way to provide some extra atmosphere without being too much of a distraction. I wouldn’t want it in every book, but for a story like this it was a gimmick that worked well without being overused.
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,107 followers
April 2, 2017
Today is the day Night Film hits the shelves!

I received a copy of this book from first reads giveaway. :) :) :)

May I just say WOW!

This was a case of love at first sight. I fell in love with NIGHT FILM before I even knew what it was about.

I was trolling through the Goodreads giveaways and spotted the cover and I thought "I must have this book!" Then I read the blurb, and I said to myself " I reeeeeeeeeeally must have this book!" So I watched and I waited for what seemed like a really looooong time, and low and behold I was one of the winners! Every day I would go out to the mail with the hope it would be there, and then one day it was.....

I opened the package and it was gloooooorious!

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There were pictures....

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and case files and notes, and more pictures...

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It was my soul-mate book...I waited for the perfect time to read it. A stormy night, candles lit, house dark...

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Since I love watching movies and TV almost as much as I love reading, many times when I am reading a book I get images of something I have watched in the past or music of soundtracks play in my head. The first chapter of NIGHT FILM conjured up images from the movie (which is also a short story)-Don't Look Now-creepy images of a girl in a bright red coat disappearing and re-appearing. The music from Twin Peaks played. I was hooked...

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Scott McGrath has ruined his career. He lost everything, his job, his wife, custody of his daughter, and his own self-respect, all because of his obsession with a recluse cult movie director by the name of Cordova. The last thing he should do is pursue him again, but after Cordova’s daughter- Ashley supposedly jumps to her death, McGrath can't turn away. Joining him on his quest are- Hopper a damaged past acquaintance of Ashley's, and Nora- a part time coat check girl and wannabe actress.

I will not bore you with more of the details. This is another one of those books I believe that should be read not knowing too much about it. It is a perfect book. There are no flaws in my opinion.

What I will say is don't rush through it...savor it, because it WILL be the best thing you read this year!
Profile Image for Emma Giordano.
317 reviews116k followers
July 11, 2016
MY GOD THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING!!

I absolutely ADORED Night Film! I had been putting off this book for quite a while 1. because it's GIANT and 2. it's adult, and I am primarily a young adult reader. The synopsis of the book really intrigued me because I am such a junkie for anything psychological, thrilling, investigative, and mysterious, so I felt that Night Film would be the perfect fit for me . . . AND IT WAS!

Night Film was honestly SO gripping! The visualization of this story was off the charts; it was so easy to see the characters racing along the streets of New York, inside different building and locations and the inclusion of the website screen caps, newspaper articles, and other forms of mixed media only added to it! Honestly, I had wanted more of the mixed media and I felt there were good areas to incorporate it, but nonetheless, what was included was a great addition to the story! If there was ever a book that truly needed a film adaptation, it's Night Film! This story could so easily be translated on screen due to the fact that it is already SO vivid.

The dynamic of the characters was really interesting! Truth be told, I wasn't the biggest fan of our protagonist, Scott McGrath. He was fairly problematic to me, very selfish, did not have his priorities in order, did not treat those in his life probably (ESPECIALLY his daughter, which bothered me to no end), but his innate determination made for a fascinating story. I definitely think Nora was my favorite character, so ambitious and brace yet still such a vision of hope! Hopper was somewhat sketchy at certain parts of the story, but his dedication to Ashley was admirable and he was such an interesting character to learn about.

Surprisingly, I really enjoyed that most of this book was told in flashbacks and memories. In high school English glass, flashbacks were the bane of my existence (if you had literary devices shoved down your throat and were forced to constantly recognize them all, you'd hate them too) but I was taken aback when I realized how in to them I was in this specific story. It was so cool to watch all of these different recounts for various strangers fit together on a time line to form one continuous story. Again, the visualization of these scenes were perfect, and it made for a really compelling story.

On a less serious note, this book gave me such a desire for a real life Cordova! Given we had a producer of similar nature, I would TOTALLY be a Cordovite, spending all my time on the blackboards researching this man's life and his films. I have a knack for researching on the creepy side of the internet, hence why I probably loved Night Film so much, so I can only assume I'd be one of the dedicated followers. The cultural phenomenon surrounding these films was FASCINATING and slightly reminded me of the craze around James Halliday from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, but on a more personal and intense scale.

The only thing I felt was slightly disappointing about the novel was the ending, honestly. This book was CRAZY, intense, edge-of-your-seat all the way through, but the ending pales in comparison to the excitement of the bulk of the story. I fully understand why things wrapped up the way they did, and it brought an interesting morale to the plot, but I was really hoping for something equally as insane to end it all.

In conclusion, I LOVED Night Film. It's honestly one of my favorite books of 2016 so far, and I'm not sure why I've waited to long to read it after knowing how fantastic it is. It has definitely turned me on to the Adult Mystery/ Psychological Thriller genre, and I will be sure to make more of an effort to include more books like this in my reading after realizing how much I love it. I would absolutely recommend it to ANYONE looking for a thrilling and intoxicating read!
Profile Image for Felicia.
254 reviews932 followers
Read
January 29, 2019
meh
/me/
INFORMAL

exclamation
1. expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.

"Meh. I'm not impressed so far"

adjective
1. uninspiring; unexceptional.

"a lot of his movies are … meh"



On a side note:
What in the *insert clever euphemism* is up with all of the italics?

Practically every sentence has one or more words in italic. Not only did I not get it but it was super distracting. At one point I thought the author had embedded some sort of code into the text so then I became even more distracted trying to piece it together. Ugh.
Profile Image for Jennifer Masterson.
200 reviews1,138 followers
April 9, 2016
4.5 Stars. I listened to the audio version.

I'm late to the party but boy am I glad I went! This book has been reviewed to death so I will just give my thoughts on it.

This is a fantastic audiobook if you have the time! It's over 23 hours!

5 Stars for the story, especially since it kept me guessing until the end.

4 Stars for how this book translated into audio. There were a couple parts that were difficult but if you have a copy of the book on hand it will help.

5 Huge Stars for the narration by actor Jake Weber! His performance was brilliant!

Highly recommended for thriller/suspense fans who have yet to read this book.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,054 reviews583 followers
February 6, 2023
This is a big rambling tome that qualifies as one of those ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ books. It may drag you in and drown you in it’s theatrical intensity, leaving you craving even more than the six hundred plus pages it provides or maybe it’ll switch you off and have you tossing it on the DNF pile, and pretty quicksmart too. So where do I sit on this one? Well, paradoxically I sit in both camps. Let me explain.

Scott McGrath is a well respected investigative journalist who has made a career out of plumbing the depths of the unsavoury and the grim to expose the truth that lies below. But when he took on the challenge of looking into the life of cult horror-film director Stanislas Cordova he really shot himself in the foot. On the basis of a phone call he received from a man claiming to be an employee of the film maker, McGrath produced a wild televised rant condemning Cordova as some kind of weirdo who should be exterminated forthwith. It caused a major outcry and when it transpired that McGrath could neither produce evidence to support his bluster or track down the mystery caller to gather more information to substantiate his outburst he was cooked. In the immediate aftermath, he is forced into an expensive legal settlement and loses both his career and his marriage.

Years later McGrath hears that Cordova’s daughter, Ashley, has been found dead at the foot of an abandoned lift shaft. Suicide? He decides it’s something he has to look into and so the adventure begins. Along the way he is joined by a 19-year-old coat check girl (Nora) and a young man called Hopper whose knowledge of and association with Ashley we will gradually discover as the narrative plays out. There will be puzzles to solve, riddles to unravel and black magic aplenty.

I kept coming across references and connections to books I’d read and films I’d seen: there was a girl in a red coat, reminiscent of Nicolas Roeg’s film Don’t Look Now; a long, crazy but brilliantly riveting section that screamed of Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island; a character who sold potions from a shop right out of Harry Potters Diagon Alley. And there was something of Alan Parker’s film Angel Heart in the way the story kept challenging me to decide whether events were real or make-believe.

So what of my conundrum, hit or miss? Well, the evidence stacks up pretty well on both sides:

Hit

- The character development is strong. I found Scott to be a particularly engaging front man: damaged and driven and with a dry humour that ensured a smile was never far from my face. The support players were good too, with both Nora and Hopper being sufficiently well fleshed out to provoke a real sense of engagement and hope for their eventual wellbeing. And I loved the way Cordova was depicted: the descriptions of his films (with titles such as Thumb Screw and At Night All Birds Are Black) and the mystery concerning just about everything concerning the making of them really helped to flesh out this dark, brooding figure.

- The overall story is really well conceived and executed. There was a pervading atmosphere of suspense, particularly in the second half of the book, and by the end I’d totally bought into it and had no real idea how it was ultimately going to play out.

Miss

- The text sometimes felt horribly bloated. There were many sections, particularly in the first half of the book, where it just seemed to ramble on interminably. Seemingly meaningless scenes were over-explained, with much more detail than necessary added. I felt myself screaming ‘just get to the point and move on’.

- There’s a huge cast of characters, some of whom make a fleeting appearance only to re-emerge later. I should have employed a notebook to keep track of who was who. It got confusing at times, particularly towards the end, as I lost track of some of the names and kept having to check my understanding of the significance of their reappearance.

I think this is one book that would be boosted by a second reading. I’m sure that I missed clues and links along the way which would have further enhanced my enjoyment. Overall I’m going to opt for 4 stars, though at half way it was no more than 3 and a possible DNF. By the end it could well have been 5 stars. In fact, despite its faults this story really got to me. I’m even tempted to keep this under review and if it is still playing with my mind in a few days (as I suspect it will be) elevate my rating to 5 stars.
Profile Image for Jason.
137 reviews2,304 followers
December 5, 2013
It is often the roll your eye moments of books or movies that weaken the reading/viewing experience for me, but I have to be honest in saying that I cannot always define what exactly triggers those eye rolls. I think sometimes it is the predictability of the plot, other times the outrageousness of coincidence or lack of plausibility. If I get the impression I am being manipulated to feel a certain way, I bristle and balk. But what happens when a book commits one or more of these grave errors and I don’t roll my eyes? What was different that time? Did the book just happen to execute things more effectively? Did it possess some other, albeit unrelated, redeeming quality that allowed me to overlook certain flaws? Or does it really all come down to my state-of-mind at the time of reading?

I do not have the answers to these questions, but I do know that I really enjoyed Night Film—despite its main character being a bit of a retard (not to mention a lousy father), despite motivations that stem more from a sake of convenience than from any reasonable source, and despite the intrusion of the wild and zany into what is otherwise a reality-based investigative thriller.

So what did I like about this book? I liked the writing, I liked the supporting characters—not just the peripheral ones but also the ones who exist only in the ethereal sense. I enjoyed the twists and turns, which are perfectly timed and manage to prevent some elements from being revealed until the final page. I liked that not everything is ultimately revealed and I like what that says about who we are, as readers, and what we want out of a story. There may be two sides to a coin but at the end of the day it is the same coin, and maybe you need both sides to complete a picture. Or maybe that picture is never really complete because it exists in an ever-changing reality and all you can do is theorize and deduce and grab hold of whichever belief helps you sleep best at night, hoping nothing will come along later to challenge that belief, but still preparing yourself for that possibility because it almost always happens eventually, one way or the other, doesn’t it?

My apologies for the vagueness there but when you finish the book you’ll understand. Or maybe you will just roll your eyes and think, “whatever, man.” Either way.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,936 reviews10.6k followers
September 29, 2015
When the daughter of a legendary reclusive film director commits suicide, disgraced investigative reporter Scott McGrath sees his chance for redemption, for he crossed paths with the director, Stanislas Cordova, years before, costing him his family and his career. What will McGrath find when he begins tugging at the strands of Cordova's web?

When I interviewed Edward Lorn for my book blog, he mentioned this among his favorite books. At the time, I saw that it had some post-modern aspects and dismissed it as hokum. Last week, I chanced upon it on the bargain table and decided to give it a shot.

Night Film is the tale of a man's obsession. Picture Moby Dick but with a film director in place of the white whale. Scott McGrath was once a rising star in the field of journalism but lost everything when he crossed Stanislas Cordova. When Ashley Cordova commits suicide, the hunt is on once again.

The book has the structure of a detective story, interspersed with articles and web postings about Stanislas Cordova and his family and associates. Normally, I would scoff and pronounce this gimmicky crap but it served the story very well.

McGrath descends deeper and deeper into the web of dark tales about Cordova, pulling his new friends Hopper and Nora, both touched by Ashley Cordova in the past, down with him. Is Cordova Satan himself? Some kind of witch or warlock? A child killer? A genius or a madman? Who the hell knows?

I'm not really doing the book justice. I think the creepiest thing about it was that none of it is outside the realm of possibility. By the time I passed the 66% mark, I was contemplating taking a day off work to finish it. It wound up being an even crazier tale than I ever expected when I first picked up the book.

The writing reminded me of Tana French a bit, literary but still suited to a detective tale. I'll have to track down Special Topics in Calamity Physics when I get a chance.



If dark detective tales with a psychological component are your drug of choice, Night Film will be a great fix. Five out of five stars.
Profile Image for Laura.
756 reviews2 followers
July 31, 2013
Disappointing. The woo-woo spookiness was captivating for about 200 pages, but then it just went on and on and my eyes began to roll with boredom. Wasn’t intrigued by Cordova; never fully believed McGrath would team up with two amateurs; thought it was oh-so-convenient how one clue always seemed to lead directly to another; scoffed when I learned who now runs The Peak (and McGrath never discovered that when he apparently could discover what someone ate for breakfast?); and double scoffed when massive elements are tidied up with, “Oh, I took care of it.” Some good lines and moments in the book, but way, way, way too long. Can’t decide if the news and online tidbits are fun or distracting. Overall it reminds me of an adult version of Patrick Carmen’s YA Skeleton Creek series, except not as good.
Profile Image for Scarlet.
187 reviews1,161 followers
September 12, 2013
3.5

Night Film opens with one hell of a prologue - easily the best I have ever come across. Those opening pages exude such authentic creepiness that it becomes impossible to not keep turning the pages, to not want to know more about the enigma of the reclusive legendary Hollywood director, Stanislas Cordova. This, I believe, is Pessl's greatest achievement here. With multimedia inclusions and some tight writing, she manages to do in a handful of pages what so many authors spend entire books trying; she manages to intrigue the reader, to lure him in, to make him take the bait.

I blew through this not-so-slight book in less than 3 days. That should give you an idea of the reading frenzy I was in.

So why the low rating??

Because once the frenzy ended and I put the book down, I realized I wasn't wowed by the actual plot or blown away by that ending and all it did or didn't imply.

The only feeling I was left with was an intense desire to watch a Cordova movie.

So the book certainly didn't fail. I wasn't bored or unaffected but the effect it did have was not really the kind Pessl intended, which is why I can't say it succeeded either.

Night Film follows a disgraced investigative reporter, Scott McGrath, as he digs into the mystery surrounding Ashley Cordova's suicide. Ashley, daughter of horror-film director Stanislas Cordova and a former piano prodigy, jumps to her death in downtown New York. Scott (who is such an unremarkable character that I'm struggling to find words to describe him) teams up with two twenty-something sidekicks (who are equally unremarkable and on top of that, annoying) as he runs around chasing clues, trying to hunt the truth that shifts and eludes like the patterns in a kaleidoscope.

The plot is one long treasure hunt centered around Cordova and while the chase is thrilling, I couldn't care less about the people I was forced to team up with. Every time Scott and his sidekicks took a break to ponder over their personal dilemmas, I would start to skim till the words 'Ashley' or 'Cordova' popped up again.

Night Film is not the kind of book that gives you the correct answer. What it gives you instead are multiple answers to the same question and leaves you to speculate which one is correct, if there even is such a thing as correct. If truth is a notion, how can anything be true? While the idea is great in theory, it did not hit me like I wanted it to. My reaction at the end was, "Who cares what the answer is when it doesn't change anything?" but I guess that has more to do with the kind of person I am. Maybe I'm someone who cares more about the effects and not the causes.

The writing is... good. If you ignore the inconsistency and the overuse of unnecessary italics, that is. There were some great parts writing-wise but no line or quote stood out enough to stay with me.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend Night Film. It did not blow me away but it was gripping enough to make me sacrifice sleep. This book is an experience and while the impact may differ from person to person, I think it is an experience worth having.


P.s. The Blackboards actually exists. See here.
Profile Image for Jeff .
912 reviews694 followers
November 23, 2016
Back in high school English class, when the topic turned to themes or leitmotifs or metaphors that was my cue to zone out and explore my theoretical sex life; consequently, a book that wears this kind of stuff on its sleeve has a tendency to leave me cold – it all swirls around a creepy, reclusive film director whose work challenges his fans to rethink what the meaning of life is all about. (Whatever happened to Joel Schumacher?) Toss in the death of his daughter (Did she jump or was she pushed?), a disgraced journalist, a Scooby Doo-esque team-up, the occult and some fairly hair raising sequences and you have this book.

The occasional thrills aside, this book seemed to take forever to plod through. For me the main character was a plot sieve, the humor forced, the metaphors clunky. The book lurched to a start and didn’t gain momentum until about two-thirds in, where the writing seemed to coalesce and the author really achieved her stride, although this is an issue that could be laid on poor editing.

As the protagonist explores the mysterious death of the girl in the red coat, the book uses pictures of internet pages to make the info dump more palatable to the reader and it works - I looked forward to these breaks from actual “reading”.



Trying to create a fictional film oeuvre for the film director was a monumental task and it seemed like the author never quite got this off the ground. “Need some sort of meta-commentary on the story, lets come up with another film to explore.”

The only character I really felt any connection to was Nora, one of the Scooby Doo kids, the other meddlesome punk, Hopper, I wanted to punch in the throat or maybe have sacrificed in an elaborate black mass.

The nebulous ending has drawn complaints, but that didn’t bother me as much as the pot-hole ridden trip to get there. Some nice chills and thrills, some puzzling plot developments , some crappy characterizations and wooden dialogue equals an average read.

This has gotten some glowing reviews from some of my much smarter Goodreads friends so your mileage may vary.


Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books3,979 followers
October 30, 2019
Re-read 10/30/19

I can honestly say it still retains all its charms. :) I feel like I just stood at the crossroads, got cursed, was given a crash course in psychology, and then, when I feel like rationality might once again hold its sway over me, I'm pushed over the rail.

Nice. Very nice. :)


Original review:

So as I was thinking about this book, I was struck by just how much of a search for god or the devil it had become, a true horror in the evocative feels, a true mystery by it's investigations and second-guessing, and a jaw-dropping mind-romp when I simply consider the tale as written by a master storyteller, or Cordova. It doesn't really matter.

The artist and the art are all one and the same, here, and I avoided *most* reviews on this book because there's been a lot of loving and hating going on and an enormous amount of popularity.

It also doesn't matter that I'd barely even heard of this book except in passing and more recently when I was told that I just had to read it from a person I respect, so I did.

And now I can firmly say that it deserves all accolades. :)

All of the characters are vivid and unforgettable, the streamlining of the search for truth is old and time-tested, but it works so damn well here because what we're looking for is the heart of the story, and no one is absolutely sure if the story is one that we make for ourselves or the one that others have led us to.

I was frankly pretty damn amazed by how many threads were pulled to unravel this sweater, and even more amazed that all of them were magically waved back into a whole and, dare I say it, pristine sweater. Even now, I can't decide whether I'm singing with the Mermaids or whether my heart has been squeezed dry by the oroboros of a worm. Reality or magic, god or the devil, it's a wild ride that manages a very tight line of Thriller for a time before it heads into the darkest territories of Horror before it leads you straight out again into Reflection... and Insanity.

Or is it insane at all? Indeed, Ashley, I think you might have been the most sane one of the bunch, and you're the white rabbit.

So delightful! I'll be honest, I got scared. My heart was pumping pretty hard. And I'm an old fan of Horror, too, so it takes a lot to get me all riled up. But I got riled up! There was so much detail and the story was so damn strong, I just couldn't tear my eyes from the page until I got through it.

You know what this means? I have to read her other novel. Soon. Very, very soon. I'm so damn glad I got to enjoy this. It was like being taken home to some of the greatest adventures in thrillerland.

If any of you haven't checked this novel out by now, expect reclusive geniuses, masterminds, tragic artists, discredited reporters, quirky actresses, and questing lovers. If that isn't enticing enough for you, there's always the Deep Web, insane cultists, fanboys, strange rituals and disappearances, and real heart. Don't miss it.

The ride's the thing. :)
Profile Image for Moira.
512 reviews25 followers
August 26, 2013
I have absolutely no idea why this has so many FIVE-STAR reviews. Y'all are tripping. And all that ranting about OMG SPOILERS SUCH AN INTRICATE STRUCTURE SPOILERS? Bullshit. I will lay this book out for you:




Read House of Leaves instead.
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,916 followers
March 14, 2015
I started this book Friday and my whole weekend involved it. I'm a nosy bit so I kept leaving it to Google things that come up in the story. The author did an amazing job of her research. She was spot on everything that I had questions about. This book is so very dark though. I had several times that I had to leave it alone because I honestly felt so creeped out that I felt like I was being watched.
I'm not going to go into the story line because really you should read this book. Dark magic, witchcraft and devil worship do play a part in this book. If that bothers you don't read it.
I kept telling myself this................
 photo tumblr_mi44fkOwqu1s5c0eto1_500_zps7830053c.gif

but heck yes I was!
Profile Image for Oriana.
Author 2 books3,303 followers
December 22, 2013
Oh la, I have the greatest friends: Karen Queen of Goodreads and Greg King of B&N conspired to help me get my hot little hands on an ARC of this a bunch of months before it's published.

But of course, I now find myself in a very precarious position. I mean, I want to jump and shout and tell you all about this crazy amazing book and how brilliant and sprawling and incredible it is! But that would be irresponsible and cruel, because this book is just loaded with spoiler-traps, and it would be awful of me to ruin it for anyone.

So I find myself a little tongue-tied.

I will say this, as lightly as I can: This is the story of cult film director Stanislas Cordova, a reclusive figure who hasn't appeared in public in forty years, whose films are all made on his sprawling upstate New York estate—films whose actors and actresses tend to disappear to the remotest corners of the world once production wraps, films that are only shown in creepy underground secret screenings, films that are so twisted and dark that some people lose their shit after watching them and others dedicate their lives to figuring them out. It is also the story of Cordova's hauntingly beautiful daughter, who opens the book by committing suicide, and the semi-disgraced journalist who is going to do whatever it goddamn takes to figure out why.

That's it for the plot. I'm not telling you a single other thing.

However I will also say this: I am so so so so glad Marisha waited a million years to publish this, rather than just shitting something else out right after Special Topics in Calamity Physics that could ride the coattails of its success. I kind of want to believe that she spent every day of all those years painstakingly building the world of this book, because it is that full, that exacting, that exquisitely detailed. I kept picturing her in her like writer's room meticulously working out each point of the plot and setting and cast of each of Cordova's films, then roaming all around the city until she found just the perfect apartment or shop or hotel for each of the book's scenes to take place in, then driving upstate and hiking through the woods in order to fully describe each leaf and stump and mudpuddle to be found there.

What I'm trying to say is that this book feels just like life. It's set in our reality, in my city, at this time, and it is very hard to believe that there actually aren't people in the Parisian catacombs showing Cordova films at midnight, that there really isn't a super-secret online community dedicated to parsing every symbol and detail of every one of his scenes.

And you know what? Maybe there is. Maybe Marisha has so fully created that reality that it does exist somewhere. That's one of the biggest themes in this book, I think: that two realities can exist simultaneously—one full of witchcraft and the other full of science, or one full of calculated terror and the other full of blasé whimsy, or one full of endless bliss and the other full of life-wrecking addiction.

Anyway. I clearly want to keep gushing and gushing, but I'll stop.

Final note: this book is going to blow the fuck up as soon as it's released, so get it fast, before some asshole who has less restraint than I do spoilers it all up.
Profile Image for Greg.
1,109 reviews1,845 followers
March 21, 2013
If in Vegas there were futures bets available on authors I would have imagine that Marisha Pessl would have been a pretty sure thing on hitting the sophomore slump. I could picture the odds being something like -1400, or somewhere around +1200 for surpassing her first book.

She was the 'it' writer for a season. Some people loved her book (I would be in that camp). Some thought it was overly derivative (I'm in that camp, too!) and some turned their noses up at it, but it got a lot of attention. It sold quite a few copies and generated quite a bit of buzz.

It doesn't feel like it, but now seven years later she's got her follow-up to Special Topics in Calamity Physics. This is quite a while for an 'it' author to come out with a second book, and it's bordering on the time that makes you start to forget about her, think that maybe she just had that one book in her, and maybe even think, well at least it was one good book and she didn't immediately follow it up with some shit that she probably wrote for an undergrad creative writing class and now has polished up to get another paycheck, but also seven years is a long time. You can picture the pressure of having the live up to your first book and easily imagine that what you're going to get is going to be trying to hard to be good. You might also think, well the first book was derivative, and she can't possibly pull off the Secret History thing again, so what's she going to rip off this time?

I never thought these things until I thought about writing this review. I didn't think much about Marisha Pessl at all since reading her first book, I really liked it, but she's since been surpassed in the bookstore world by all the other 'it' authors and there are so many of them you just stop remembering them after awhile.

Seven years is a long time (or if I think about it, it doesn't seem that long ago that the hardcover of STICP caught my eye, making me realize maybe I've been at my job way too long).

And then you happen to get your hands on an ARC of Night Film and you realize that the fears of a sophomore slump are totally unfounded and that she might just be as fucking good as she hinted at being in her first novel.

This is good. Really good.

To get the derivative question out of the way, if you were going to say she was riffing off of another book, it would probably be House of Leaves, but it's more straight forward than that tome of typographical whimsy, it's also possibly scarier at times, more coherent and reads better. This reads sort of like an accessible David Lynch film (which isn't going out on a limb, since the pictures of one of the characters does have a resemblance to Lynch).

Writing a review of this book is difficult. And I'd recommend if you are going to read this book and you don't get an ARC or read it right when it comes out to tread lightly into reading reviews. The whole book is littered with massive spoilers and this book is too much fun to want to ruin it because some jackoff on the internet wants to tell you his thoughts on some twist, turn or plot point.

But, if you want to know what the book is about, it's about a beautiful talented girl who throws herself down an elevator shaft. The girl is the daughter of a famed reclusive cult film director, known for producing disturbing and provocative films. The kind that when they are described you kind of wish had really been made. The kind of films that you want to see when you want to see something that would scare the shit out of you. The kind of films that sadly don't really exist.

A journalist goes looking for answers about why the girl killed herself.

One of the happy surprises of the book is that it effectively uses pictures, 'screenshots' of websites and other ephemera (well not real ephemera, pictures of them) in a way that actually enriches the book and doesn't look some cheesy piece of shit. I don't know about you, but when I normally see lots of pictures in a book, like the ones this has, I usually start to worry. Sort of like when you see that whole portions of a book are written out in text messages, you just sort of feel like it's going to be a giant gimmick.

One thing I found a little annoying at first about the book was .

This may be intentional, but probably isn't. But I couldn't help seeing some Infinite Jest similarities, but that is probably just because of the films, and the powerful almost unreal quality given to the films. And because I'm probably stupid and the name Cordova kept making me think Incandenza (don't know why). The film Infinite Jest (V) and most of Cordova's work have the samizdat quality. Ashley Cordova kept making me think of Joelle, and Saratoga Springs* is mentioned exactly one time in each work. That last fact along makes me positive that Pessl had to have been influenced by DFW.

This book is good. I'm going to say it's a book you should be excited about for this year, and try try try to read it without having anything spoiled for you in advance.


*Astute readers may note that this is a lie. In Night Film Saratoga Springs is mentioned once. But Saratoga sans Springs is also mentioned once. One could say that this means that Saratoga Springs is mentioned twice, since most people call Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, but there is also the Village (or town) of Saratoga, which is closer to where the Battle of Saratoga took place, and this is a seperate place than Saratoga Springs so it's possible (although unlikely) that this is what Pessl meant in the first mention of my surrogate hometown. I'm fairly certain that the mention of Saratoga Springs in Infinite Jest occurs in a footnote.
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