Night Film

John Gall Design/Rekha Garton

While I’ve always been an avid reader, most of the books I’ve been purchasing over the last year or so have been work-related. Though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, a girl’s gotta make some time for pure pleasure reading as well! Luckily for me, I did just that over the Christmas break with Night Film by Marisha Pessl.

I had wanted to read Night Film since it first came out in August 2013 — the cover always caught my eye when we were in Barnes&Noble and the reviews I read of it were extremely positive — but due to a book-buying moratorium I had placed on myself (I have enough reading material in our apartment to last me a year or two), I decided to wait until it was in paperback or I could check it out of the library. But when the Mysterious Mr. C and I were in our local B&N to pick up some gifts for other people, I broke down and decided to get it as a present to myself. And boy, am I glad that I did! 

A complete sucker for murder, mystery, and mayhem (I’m more of the psychological thriller type than a horror aficionado), the book’s premise spoke to me. There was the mysterious death of a reclusive cult film director’s daughter, tales of black magic and a family curse, and a disgraced investigative journalist hunting for the truth, and possibly, redemption. It was a book that drew me in from the very beginning and I had a hard time putting it down. In fact, while I loved all of the time I had relaxing with my family, there were definitely moments when I thought, “Ooo, when everyone else goes to bed, I can read a little bit more!” The book was that addictive.

Though I, like the aforementioned journalist, was ultimately left wanting a more diabolical ending to the story, I certainly loved every minute of the ride. It has been a long time since a book has grabbed me so tightly and refused to let go, and I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in Pessl’s writing. It may seem like an odd description, but I loved that the book was so cerebral. While Pessl’s style is extremely accessible, I felt like the book challenged my “little grey cells” more than some of the other things I’ve read lately. I found myself trying to piece together clues along with the characters and my pulse definitely raced through particular chapters.

Another thing I loved about the book was how visually graphic it was. I never downloaded the app to explore the bonus multimedia content, but I thought the mock newspaper articles, magazine interviews, and Internet message boards included in the text were extremely clever. It was a great way to give information to the reader about the characters without having some omniscient narrator fill in the blanks, and it helped you dive into the story more quickly because it allowed you to catch up on the background stories. And since the graphics were so well done, it was quite easy to forget that this was a fictional tale. I don’t know if other authors are attempting the same kind of digital components for their novels, but Pessl may have just shown us what the future of reading will look like. And I, for one, am eager to see what she comes up with next.

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