MLA Platinum Award Press Release

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

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

Night Film

by Marisha Pessl

Night Film by Marisha Pessl X
Night Film by Marisha Pessl
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

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

    Genres

  • 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" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

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

Join Now!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Sleepovers
    Sleepovers
    by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips
    In Ashleigh Bryant Phillips' debut story collection, Sleepovers, it can be difficult to keep tabs on...
  • Book Jacket
    The Beekeeper of Aleppo
    by Christy Lefteri
    In Christy Lefteri's sophomore novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, the author introduces readers to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Cantoras
    by Carolina De Robertis
    Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis follows five characters who share a house, troubles, joys and parts...
  • Book Jacket: Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    Daughters Of Smoke & Fire
    by Ava Homa
    Ava Homa's debut novel begins with an epigraph by Sherko Bekas, a Kurdish poet, the last lines of ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Voyage of the Morning Light
    by Marina Endicott

    A sweeping novel set aboard a merchant ship sailing through the South Pacific in 1912.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Beekeeper of Aleppo
by Christy Lefteri

This moving, intimate, and beautifully written novel puts human faces on the Syrian war.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

A charming account of holding local office with an entertaining, quirky cast of characters.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A S Louder T W

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.