Synopsis: Ashley Cordova, the mysterious, gifted daughter of the reclusive film director Stanislas Cordova, is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her death is ruled a suicide, but veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. What happened to Ashley? As McGrath tries to uncover the truth, he is drawn into a spellbinding quest in the underworld of the Cordova family's life. With breakneck speed and dazzling inventiveness, Night Film will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page.
Date Published: July 16, 2013
Published By: Random House
Number of Pages: 640
This is definitely one mind-fuck of a book. Once you start this book, it is almost impossible to put it down. Full of twists and turns and written like an old-fashioned noir novel updated for the 21st century, it is sure to please the most discerning of thriller fans.
It's hard to talk about the book as a whole because all I keep thinking about is the ending but I'll try my best.
It starts a seemingly straightforward mystery. Did this girl commit suicide or was it murder? Pretty standard stuff for a mystery novel. But then you get sucked into this entire world that the author has created. Stanislas Cordova is the real mystery in Night Film. Is he just an eccentric, reclusive director who values his privacy? Or is he something much more sinister?
In the book, Cordova's films are described as so disturbing that they have been banned in most countries and the only way to view them is through underground screenings or buying bootleg copies. The films are such an integral part of the story that I found myself wishing I could watch them. I loved how elusive and mysterious this guy was and it definitely kept me hooked throughout the story.
I love how the author scattered things like blog posts, police reports, photographs and interviews throughout the narrative so it really feels like you are investigating the crime along with the characters. I tried to keep track of every little hint and detail, every conversation but I still didn't figure out the ending.
And, oh boy. That ending.
I would say that there are two parts to the ending - the part dealing with Ashley and the one dealing with Stanislas. The one dealing with Ashley is fitting and makes sense but I suppose I was hoping for a bigger, more shocking twist than the one I got. I guess I was hoping for something a bit more sinister than...well, I won't spoil it but if you've read the book you know what I'm talking about.
The true ending of the book is the one dealing with Stanislas Cordova. I'm not going to spoil it but HOLY AMBIGUOUS ENDING, BATMAN! I think the ending definitely fit the kind of story Pessl was trying to tell. Part of me liked it but another part of me (the part that wants a book to reveal all of its secrets) was like NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! IT CAN'T END LIKE THAT!!!
But I am aware that the author intentionally kept it ambiguous to fit one of the main themes of the novel: sometimes, no matter how hard you try or how much you dig, some things will forever remain unknown.