Edward Lorn's Reviews > Night Film

Night Film by Marisha Pessl
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it was amazing

I first stumbled across Night Film, by Marisha Pessl, by way of a review written by one of my favorite authors, Joe Hill. I read the Look Inside on Amazon, skimmed through the negative reviews, then ran out to buy the hardcover. I'll explain why I purchased the physical version instead of the ebook in a moment. On with the review!

First and foremost, Night Film is a literary novel. It is more about the journey than the destination. You will drink your fill of adverbs, but, in my opinion, every word present is required if you are to be fully immersed in this startlingly vibrant work of art.

At first, Night Film read like a novelization of the movie 8MM. For two hundred pages, I went along, seemingly trudging through superfluous detail and meandering characters. And then the interviews started; page after page of fringe players droning on and on about their dealings with the reclusive director, Stanislas Cordova, and his recently deceased daughter, Ashley. Normally I'd be bored to tears, but the characters in this novel are interesting enough without being over the top (unless of course they're supposed to be over the top, but, even then, Pessl manages to make them only eccentric while staying away from annoying) to keep the reader's interest. But then we come to the final two hundred pages and things become all kinds of interesting. Puzzle pieces slowly drift together, and you realize that, all along, important information has been masquerading as superfluous detail. Tiny things, such as a mysterious hexagon-shaped box mentioned way back in the first hundred pages, come back to play a large role toward the end. You will question everything after that, as you should.

Was Ashley just a normal girl? Was she in some way supernatural? Every time you think you know what's going on, you're wrong. And, when the book finally ends, you're left considering every answer you were given because Pessl answers all questions with more questions cloaked as answers. Confused? Just read the book. To say anymore would be to step over the "edge of the end" and spoil everything.

Pessl's descriptions catapult this haunting novel into the stratosphere. Which brings me to how disturbing this book is. We're not talking blood and gore and spooks and beasties, but nuanced scenes of dark imagination that infect you. One scene in particular, where our narrator finally stumbles across The Devil's Bridge to find what/who changed Ashley Cordova's life forevermore, made me put the book down. Shivering, I powered up my Kindle, and found a comedy to watch on Netflix. This scene may not affect you in the same way, but I've never read such a terrifying description. So well done, yet so succinct... so stark.

For a mystery/thriller, this novel is deep. I almost wished I'd read the Kindle edition so I could have highlighted certain sections and shared them as I paged through, but I didn't buy that version based on the Amazon reviews. Seems the Kindle edition is rife with problems concerning italics and links.

The images scattered throughout the book did seem unneeded, as, before every one of them, Pessl would describe said photograph or article, making the pictures redundant page filler. I didn't feel they added anything to the story/narrative, but they certainly didn't take anything away.

In summation: This is solely my opinion, but you might struggle through the first four hundred pages of this book, but when you reach the final two hundred, you'll be glad you did. Everything comes together. Everything. And nothing at all... If you think that might annoy you, skip this one. But if you like enigmas and noir and underground cinema, by all means, check this one out.

Final Judgment: Easily in my top five books of all time.
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Reading Progress

August 25, 2013 – Shelved
August 25, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 31, 2013 – Started Reading
August 31, 2013 –
page 26
August 31, 2013 –
page 48
7.97% "Off to one hell of a great start. Loving it!"
September 25, 2013 –
page 91
15.37% "This is reminding me great deal of 8MM, San Nic Cage"
October 26, 2013 –
page 124
November 5, 2013 –
page 246
40.86% "This book just went to the last place I expected. Consider my interest piqued."
November 8, 2013 –
page 282
November 8, 2013 –
page 293
November 12, 2013 –
page 330
November 12, 2013 –
page 356
November 15, 2013 –
page 408
67.77% "The middle of this book lags because of constant character interviews. They're interesting, but I wish we'd get back to the action."
November 18, 2013 –
page 483
80.23% "I'm a hundred pages from the end, and I must say, this book is damn near flawless. Everything comes full circle."
November 19, 2013 –
page 533
88.54% "I should be done with this today..."
November 20, 2013 –
page 571
November 20, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-13 of 13 (13 new)

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message 1: by Caleb (new)

Caleb Edison I'm buying an autographed copy of this RIGHT NOW!

Edward Lorn Is Pessl doing a signing somewhere, or did you find one online?

message 3: by Caleb (new)

Caleb Edison She did a signing in Chino Hills! I got one!!!!

message 4: by Caleb (new)

Caleb Edison You're review is AMAZING! Is this your favorite book of all time?!

Edward Lorn It fluctuates, but it has remained in my top three since I read it. Here's my list as it stands now: https://edwardlorn.wordpress.com/52-i...

message 6: by Caleb (new)

Caleb Edison Your website is AWESOME! Bravo!

Edward Lorn Thanks, Caleb. :)

Eat.Sleep.Lift.Read. Ah shit. Now I gotta add this to my 'to-read list'.

Edward Lorn This one is fucking brilliant, dude. Take your time with it. Get lost in it.

message 10: by Ruth (new) - added it

Ruth Turner Excellent review! It's already sitting on my TBR shelf.

message 11: by Dustin (new) - added it

Dustin Oh man, your review is KILLER! The best and most insightful words on this book I have ever read!

Tom Swift I just loved this book. The is the reason I like Goodreads, I find books that I otherwise would have not heard about.

message 13: by Christy (new) - added it

Christy Wow! Great review Edward! I just HAD to add it. Top 5 of all time sold me!

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