Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


Night Film by Marisha Pessl

When Ashley, the daughter of a famous movie director, Stanislas Cordova, is found dead, the journalist Scott McGrath begins to investigate the family. Last time he worked on a case about the family ended in a personal tragedy. This time, something even more important might be on the line.

It took a while to get into the book. Scott McGrath was a clean slate and not very interesting, except his obsession with Cordova. I didn’t think Ashley Cordova was especially fascinating either, despite the author’s attempt. For a long time seemed like a confused emo teenager. The only character that I found interesting right away was Nora.

Just as in Cordova’s movies, there are unexplained elements and soon, Scott’s entire life is almost turning into one of these movies. Is it a dream? Is he going mad? It’s difficult to know where reality ends and illusion begins. Perhaps that is what makes this book special. Magical cracks is cutting through the world and make him question the reality and himself. Cordova’s movies seem to have a story technique that is a mixture of Alfred Hitchcock and Ingmar Bergman, but more frightening and controversial. Such movies are being interpreted and often considered cult. There are more similarities, as well. Just as Cordova, Bergman filmed many movies on his estate on Fårö in Sweden.

The author uses a special grip. She fills the novel with fake photographies and articles to frame the story and put the reader into the world of the book. It’s an interesting concept, and works most of the time, but the those supposed to be photographs of Ashley look staged. She looks more like an angry model than a mysterious, fascinating pianist.

Something happens two thirds into the book. Suddenly, the pace is increasing, and the book becomes intense when the story begins to unfold. It’s a unusual book in many ways, not least when it comes to the gothic feeling that rests over the family Cordova, that soon envelops the main character.

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