Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
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.