Excerpt from Night Film by Marisha Pessl, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Night Film

by Marisha Pessl

Night Film by Marisha Pessl
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2013, 624 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2014, 624 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

PROLOGUE

New York City 2:32 A.M.
Everyone has a Cordova story, whether they like it or not.


Maybe your next-door neighbor found one of his movies in an old box in her attic and never entered a dark room alone again. Or your boyfriend bragged he'd discovered a contraband copy of At Night All Birds Are Black on the Internet and after watching refused to speak of it, as if it were a horrific ordeal he'd barely survived.

Whatever your opinion of Cordova, however obsessed with his work or indifferent—he's there to react against. He's a crevice, a black hole, an unspecified danger, a relentless outbreak of the unknown in our overexposed world. He's underground, looming unseen in the corners of the dark. He's down under the railway bridge in the river with all the missing evidence, and the answers that will never see the light of day.

He's a myth, a monster, a mortal man.

And yet I can't help but believe when you need him the most, Cor- dova has a way of heading straight toward you, like a mysterious guest you notice across the room at a crowded party. In the blink of an eye, he's right beside you by the fruit punch, staring back at you when you turn and casually ask the time.

My Cordova tale began for the second time on a rainy October night, when I was just another man running in circles, going nowhere as fast as I could. I was jogging around Central Park 's Reservoir after two a.m.—a risky habit I'd adopted during the past year when I was too strung out to sleep, hounded by an inertia I couldn't explain, except for the vague understanding that the best part of my life was behind me, and the sense of possibility I'd once had so innately as a young man was now gone.

It was cold and I was soaked. The gravel track was rutted with puddles, the black waters of the Reservoir cloaked in mist. It clogged the reeds along the bank and erased the outskirts of the park as if it were nothing but paper, the edges torn away. All I could see of the grand buildings along Fifth Avenue were a few gold lights burning through the gloom, reflecting on the water's edge like dull coins tossed in. Every time I sprinted past one of the iron lampposts, my shadow surged past me, quickly grew faint, and then peeled off — as if it didn't have the nerve to stay.

I was bypassing the South Gatehouse, starting my sixth lap, when I glanced over my shoulder and saw someone was behind me.

A woman was standing in front of a lamppost, her face in shadow, her red coat catching the light behind her, making a vivid red slice in the night.

A young woman out here alone? Was she crazy?

I turned back, faintly irritated by the girl's naïveté — or recklessness, whatever it was that brought her out here. Women of Manhattan, mag- nificent as they were, they forgot sometimes they weren't immortal. They could throw themselves like confetti into a fun-filled Friday night, with no thought as to what crack they fell into by Saturday.

The track straightened north, rain needling my face, the branches hanging low, forming a crude tunnel overhead. I veered past rows of benches and the curved bridge, mud splattering my shins.

The woman—whoever she was—appeared to have disappeared.

But then—far ahead, a flicker of red. It vanished as soon as I saw it, then seconds later, I could make out a thin, dark silhouette walking slowly in front of me along the iron railing. She was wearing black boots, her dark hair hanging halfway down her back. I picked up my pace, deciding to pass her exactly when she was beside a lamppost so I could take a closer look and make sure she was all right.

As I neared, however, I had the marked feeling she wasn't.

Excerpted from Night Film by Marisha Pessl. Copyright © 2013 by Marisha Pessl. Excerpted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  David Lynch

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Salt Houses
    Salt Houses
    by Hala Alyan
    Salt Houses is the story of a Palestinian family living in Nablus; it begins on the eve of the ...
  • Book Jacket: The End of Eddy
    The End of Eddy
    by Edouard Louis
    The End of Eddy has been a publishing phenomenon in Édouard Louis' native France, where it...
  • Book Jacket: If We Were Villains
    If We Were Villains
    by M L. Rio
    22 out of 28 of our reviewers rated If We Were Villains four or five stars, giving it an overall ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Extraordinary Adventures
    by Daniel Wallace

    A large-hearted and optimistic novel that is witty, winsome, and wise.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Scribe of Siena
    by Melodie Winawer

    Equal parts transporting love story, meticulously researched historical fiction, and compelling time-travel narrative.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

Finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver. Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's A S B Every M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -