Thursday, January 23, 2014

on book 4.

book 4 of 60: night film by marisha pessl

date started: 1.13.2014
date completed: 1.23.2014

pessl is a fine writer. not great, just fine. this book received high critical praise, and it was entertaining and downright creepy in some spots, but all in all it let me down.

the book excels in the creepy factor. devil worship, black magic, voodoo, masters of gore cinema, elusive pop culture figures, black market internet sites--you name it, it's here, and somehow it all seems to work.

pessl fails to develop her characters in any sort of substantial way.  each character is like a shadow figure--a placeholder for the fully crafted, three dimensional characters that an audience craves.  mcgrath, for all his investigative prowess, is inept at realizing the circumstances of his own life and those close to him.  he does manage to figure things out, but it seems he's always last--we'll behind the reader. nora and hopper are more like caricatures than "real" people.

the end of the book left me hating it (kind of). i understand why pessl needed to leave the ending vague  (which i won't disclose here for sake of spoilers), but, given the sheer quantity of interesting conclusions available in this text, the chosen one feels like a cop out.

all in all, this book wasn't bad, it was fine.  and that's ok.

probable next read:  birthmarked by caragh m. o'brien

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