26/40: Night Film (by Marisha Pessl)


Night Film

by Marisha Pessl

Release date: 08/20/2013 by Random House

WHO: Scott, McGrath, a discredited journalist…

WHAT: investigates the apparent suicide of the daughter of an outre filmmaker who also happens to be the man who discredited him.

WHERE: The investigation takes McGrath from the streets of New York City to The Peaks, a massive estate in the Adirondacks (upstate New York,) and back, with some serious head trips in between.

WHEN: Ashley, the filmmaker’s daughter was found dead in an elevator shaft on October 13, 2011 and McGrath’s inquiry into the girl and her family takes place over the course of a few weeks.

WHY: McGrath’s suspicion and paranoia, fomented when he attempted to run a story on the girls’ father and was subsequently, professionally ruined, drive McGrath…

HOW: and with the help of a drug dealer and a homeless girl, McGrath tilts at his windmill.

Do you believe what you see? How about what you don’t see? What proofs do you require?Night Film challenges the skeptic of the metaphysical or paranormal to reconsider what the truth of human nature is, to break free of the conventions which govern our perceptions of ourselves and, to challenge ourselves as to what is accepted and acceptable in reality.

+ There is a lot of material to dissect in terms of symbolism, metaphor and/or allegory which should make for interesting discussions. In particular, the series of events at The Peak, which best exemplify the shifting paradigms of reality and truth bear further scrutiny. 

Illustrations include created screen shots and other media snip-its which provide visual interest and augment the story.

– Night Film starts out with promises of a walk on the dark side, but doesn’t quite deliver in that regard. In fact, the whole of the novel more easily qualifies as a Mystery or in the Thriller/Suspense genre than in the Horror. Night Film may suffer a bit form overexposure or overuse of superlatives, i.e. you may be expecting something along the lines of Clive Barker or Stephen King, but it’s more akin to Stieg Larson’s Millennium Trilogy crossed with the movie, Inception.

 Characters are colorful, but not particularly well developed. Motivations are not strongly delineated and  there is no sense that any of the characters undergo fundamental change. 

OTHER: I acquired an unsolicited ARC of Night Film (by Marisha Pessl) from a kind friend in the publishing industry. I had heard about Night Film through a Books on the Nightstand podcast last December and, actually held a copy of the ARC in my hands for all of five minutes before it was taken from me in the BooktopiaWA Yankee Swap. Finally, someone who knew of my disappointment, sent me an ARC 🙂

I receive no monies, goods or services in exchange for reviewing the product and/or mentioning any of the persons or companies that are or may be implied in this post.

I have challenged myself to read forty books this summer. Many books will be backlist titles as I’m trying to clear the stacks; but I have no doubt that new releases will make their way in too! 😉


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