by Marisha Pessl
Is it possible that someone at the Random House editorial department has a vendetta against Pessl? That’s the only explanation I can think of for the bizarre proliferation of italics in her book. You eventually get used to it, but the infestation of italicized words in every other paragraph is, initially, a major distraction.
In other respects, Pessl’s thriller is a mixed bag. Her plot is imaginative: An investigative reporter hunts a mysterious cult-filmmaker named Cordova, whose young daughter kills herself by leaping down an elevator shaft. But there are stretches of Night Film that are so poorly written – so illogical or overwrought – that at times it resembles an earnest high-school student’s essay for English class. A typical simile from page 205: “The woman’s small black eyes swarmed it like flies over a turd.” I’m not sure why they failed to italicize “turd.”
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