Oh. My. Gosh.
Where to start? Night Film was one of the novels I was most excited about for 2013, and boy, did it deliver.
A VAST improvement over Special Topics, of which I was not a huge fan, Pessl hits her stride in Night Film– expertly mixing media like websites, magazine articles, etc. with a story that is guaranteed to give you the creeps. I have to admit, I’m kind of disappointed that this was released in summer as it is the perfect rainy, fall weekend kind of book. Just thinking about reading it on a dark, wintry night gives me the shivers.
This is not a novel focused on character study, but I think that’s what makes it a great book. Instead, Pessl focuses on creating a rigid atmosphere that is wrought with tension and darkness. Just like the protagonist, you will find yourself slowly sleeping deep and deeper into a world that should seemingly not make sense, but yet does. It made me think of those horror-film-esque thoughts that sometimes come after dark, which you know are totally irrational, but yet make you pull the covers up higher.
Ideally I would give this book 4.5 stars: the middle lags a little bit and lacks the urgency that book ends it on either side. I should note though, that while the pace slows, I still pulled three late-nighters in a row to finish this over the weekend. The ending also tied things up a little too nicely, though you have to give Pessl snaps for the way she is able to sprinkle hints/clues through a 500+ novel consistently. It is truly impressive!
Available from Amazon.com (where you can also find this review) and the New York Public Library.
xo The Book Bird