NPR - Cosmopolitan - Kirkus Reviews - BookPage A page-turning thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson, Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy--the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker. Read more...
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NPR - Cosmopolitan - Kirkus Reviews - BookPage A page-turning thriller for readers of Stephen King, Gillian Flynn, and Stieg Larsson, Night Film tells the haunting story of a journalist who becomes obsessed with the mysterious death of a troubled prodigy--the daughter of an iconic, reclusive filmmaker. On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley's life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova--a man who hasn't been seen in public for more than thirty years. For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova's dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself. Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova's eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more. Night Film, the gorgeously written, spellbinding new novel by the dazzlingly inventive Marisha Pessl, will hold you in suspense until you turn the final page. Praise for Night Film
"Night Film has been precision-engineered to be read at high velocity, and its energy would be the envy of any summer blockbuster. Your average writer of thrillers should lust for Pessl's deft touch with character."--Joe Hill, The New York Times Book Review
"Mysterious and even a little head-spinning, an amazing act of imagination."--Dean Baquet, The New York Times Book Review
"Maniacally clever . . . Cordova is a monomaniacal genius who creeps into the darkest crevices of the human psyche. . . . As a study of a great mythmaker, Night Film is an absorbing act of myth-making itself. . . . Dastardly fun . . . The plot feels like an M. C. Escher nightmare about Edgar Allan Poe. . . . You'll miss your subway stop, let dinner burn and start sleeping with the lights on."--The Washington Post
"Haunting . . . a suspenseful, sprawling page-turner."--USA Today "Entrancing and delightful . . . a] whipsmart humdinger of a thriller . . . It feels, above all things, new."--The Boston Globe
"Gripping . . . a masterful puzzle . . . Pessl builds up real suspense."--Entertainment Weekly
"A very deeply imagined book . . . sprints to an ending that's equal parts nagging and haunting: What lingers, beyond all the page-turning, is a density of possible clues that leaves you leafing backward, scanning fictional blog comments and newspaper clippings, positive there's some secret detail that will snap everything into focus."--New York
"Hypnotic . . . The real and the imaginary, life and art, are dizzyingly distorted not only in a Cordova night film . . . but in Pessl's own Night Film as well."--Vanity Fair From the Hardcover edition.
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The Signature of All Things is Elizabeth Gilbert’s first work of fiction in 13 years. Set in the 18th and 19th centuries, this abundantly detailed historical narrative tells the story of the Whittaker family of Philadelphia. Patriarch Henry Whittaker amassed vast wealth in the quinine business in South Africa.
He passes on his fortune and his brilliant intellect to his daughter, Alma, whose interest in botany leads her into the study of evolution. Alma isn’t a beauty, and her bookish pursuits take precedence over romance. When she does fall in love, it’s with an artist named Ambrose Pike, whose reverence for the mystical is at odds with her own rational nature. Passages both literal and figurative ensue for Alma, as she sets out on a journey with stops in Tahiti and Holland to explore the natural world and her own inner terrain. Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) has written a fascinating, deeply authentic story of one woman’s quest to find herself, a book that demonstrates her remarkable range as an author.
A smart, spellbinding mystery, Marisha Pessl’s Night Film is a worthy follow-up to the author’s acclaimed debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Filmmaker Stanislas Cordova has an underground following—his dark, disturbing movies have been banned from theaters and become bona fide cult classics. Stanislas’ daughter, Ash ley, a piano prodigy, is featured in his final film. Gorgeous and gifted, Ashley plays Carnegie Hall as a preteen and is dead by the age of 24, when, to all appearances, she commits suicide. Journalist Scott McGrath, an expert on Stanislas and his work, believes there’s more to Ashley’s demise than meets the eye. Along with two friends, Scott begins an investigation into the father-daughter bond and the circumstances surrounding Ashley’s death. Pessl bolsters the story with fictionalized documentary materials—transcripts, articles, screenshots—creating a sense of authenticity that adds to the novel’s appeal. This hypnotic, cleverly crafted thriller provides further proof that Pessl is a writer to be reckoned with.
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Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement is a wide-ranging multigenerational saga that opens in 1914 Shanghai. Violet, the book’s primary narrator, lives with her American mother, Lucia, who’s the mistress of a popular courtesan establishment. When her mother inexplicably departs for San Francisco, Violet finds herself alone in Shanghai. An exotic beauty, Violet becomes a courtesan herself and has a daughter of her own. The novel flashes back to 1800s San Francisco to tell the story of Lucia, a woman very different from the one Violet grew up with. Tan’s rich descriptions of China in the early 1900s and her command of history make this a mesmerizing family epic. Her fans will savor this novel, which finds Tan at the top of her game 25 years after the publication of her luminous debut, The Joy Luck Club.