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jenryland

jenryland

Night Film - Marisha Pessl Very solid. I've read a LOT of mysteries and maybe that's why I'd have to say that I found this book very good but not blow-me-away-amazing. What mysteries do I think are blow-me-away-amazing? The ones that manage to be both intellectually challenging and emotionally wrenching, that feature a non-gimmicky twist that I never saw coming, or the investigator transitioning from innocence to world-weariness, or just a deeply resonant example of justice triumphing over evil. WHAT I LOVED ABOUT NIGHT FILM: -- The New York setting was beautifully done. One of the best uses of Manhattan (and a touch of Long Island and upstate NY) as a setting that I've read in a while. -- Loved the use of newspaper articles, screenshots, etc. Those really added another dimension to the story and I appreciated all the work that went into them.--The creep factor got pretty high, peaking for me during the scene when the main character walked through Cordova's film sets. --Loved the world building around Cordova and his career, especially the whole analysis of all the elements of Cordova's films near the end. I feel like the author actually "made" all his movies in her mind, and that's deeply impressive.LOVED LESS:--The whole trope of the fortysomething, crusading, disgraced journalist, which I've seen before a bunch of times. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, etc., etc.--Ashley. She seemed too good to be true -- beautiful, brave, magnetic, self-sacrificing, insanely talented, yada, yada….--The sidekicks, Hopper and Nora, were also remarkable competent and a little convenient. -- The deductive process was clunky and repetitious. I got a little tired of the whole "witness refuses to talk to them ….. OMG! --witness was just pretending not to want to talk to them but actually desperately wants to talk to them" song and dance, which happened over and over.--For me, the strongest mysteries include some sort of high personal stakes for the investigator, and I wasn't really feeling that here. The whole "disgraced reporter" thing was an attempt at that, and the opening scene was another attempt to make McGrath care deeply about what happened to Ashley, but I wasn't buying it. He must solve the murder because … he recognizes her coat. And because she was perfect. Which leads to the fact that:-- Ashley started to feel like a sort of ghostly MPDG for McGrath. And I was so worried that he would take up with Nora. Loved the way this was handled. The part where he drops her off in the cab toward the end was really well-done! -- All in all, I wanted more emotional resonance for McGrath. I wanted the case to be personal for him. And the ending felt anti-climactic to me. I got the whole parallel about how Cordova's films end in uncertainty and so does the book. So for me the ending was a clever conceit, but not entirely satisfying.