This is a fantastic book, and it’s an absolute perfect read for this time of year. What’s better than cozying up on the couch with a big creepy hardcover book when the weather gets cold? Nothing really, in my opinion, although this thought is much more appealing when there’s a cat hanging around to keep you company.
Why do I say that? Not because I’m a crazy cat lady (which I am), but because this book is eerie so it’s better to not be alone when reading it. It introduces some unsettling thoughts into your psyche as you flip the pages, not to mention some of the unnerving pictures scattered throughout it. But these pictures are one of the elements that set this novel apart. Similar to a book of non-fiction that has a section of pictures in the middle, this story peppers fictional screen grabs, photos and newspaper articles throughout its narrative to mimic what the main character is reviewing as he tries to solve the case. BUT, unlike many non-fiction books that plop these additions haphazardly throughout, this book strategically places these elements so you can finish the sentence you are reading before turning your focus to the bonus material. You don’t have to stop in the middle of your sentence to look at the picture, or flip back and forth between what you’re reading to what the paragraph is referring to, it’s all there exactly when you need it. I’m not sure if this is something that bothers others as much it bothers me, but there you go.
I’ve heard that the e-book version of Night Film includes many interactive elements on it that are tied to these bonus materials, so you can click through them to other webpages, etc. Quite frankly, I’d be shocked if it didn’t, because this is such an obvious plot that would benefit from something like this. However, I’m not sure I would be brave enough to click through on those things if I had an e-reader myself, because the images didn’t need any help becoming anymore real for me that they already were on the printed page.
It’s occurred to me that I haven’t given you enough information to decide whether or not you should pick this up so I’ll give you a very brief summary of the story-essentially, it’s about the suspicious suicide of a young woman named Ashley Cordova, who is the very attractive and strange daughter of the elusive and ultra-famous director Stanislas Cordova. He has only given a few interviews in his entire life, and no one really knows what he looks like, or really anything about him. His films are apparently so scary that they are banned from regular distribution, and they’ve permanently altered people’s mental states because they are so frightening. It’s the mystery of this director and his reputation that dominates the novel.
Interestingly, Pessl’s website states that she retained film rights to not only this book, but the films that she describes in the book that Stanislas directed. And, apparently the rights to these films have already been sold. A little piece of publishing knowledge here: even though the rights have been sold, it’s not guaranteed that the book will actually be made into a film, because people buy film rights all the time and never do anything with them (depressing thought). I know what you’re probably thinking-why are we subjected to all this recycled crap from Hollywood studios when there are these awesome story lines just waiting to be made? Good question!
But I digress. Should we consider this a horror novel? Probably not, I’ve read a bit of Stephen King and I wouldn’t say this is similar. However, I would say this is definitely a thriller, and a timely read as we get closer to Halloween. I’ll be looking for more scary books (but not too scary!), so if you have any suggestions, please leave them for me in the comments section.