Night Film - Marisha Pessl

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Kewangji
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Night Film - Marisha Pessl

Postby Kewangji » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:19 pm UTC

Did y'all read this book? It's a doorstopper with some interesting storytelling techniques (like screencaps of fake websites) about a journalist trying to nail a cult film director whose daughter committed suicide. It's gotten some really good press, I think. I picked it up because one of the creators of Night Vale said it was like a House of Leaves that didn't suck, or something.

Those of you who read it, were you also quite disappointed? Rambling/debating with myself within:

Spoiler:
I really liked the book when I started reading. There are some annoying stylistic choices such as the random italicised phrases for some reason but that doesn't bother me very much. The narrator is blandly sexist/racist from the beginning but I thought the author was trying to make a point with this, about how so much literature is from the point of view of old white men, or something. As the book progressed, I realized that there was no point to this: it was just how the character was. His viewpoint remains mostly unchallenged throughout the whole narrative, apart from a few select

What killed it for me was the scene where they enter a secret BDSM club where "women are verboten" but trans women are there. The narrator struggles with pronouns and keeps switching, which is icky as hell to read. These characters are clearly meant to be trans women but the narrative and the characters all treat them as men. Gender-ambiguity is used throughout the whole book as a shorthand for "oooh, unheimlich" in a way that just feels really fucking lazy. And I really wanted to like this book.

Probably going to write a series of lengthy essays on gender-ambiguity in fiction now.
Hopefully some of you have opinions on this.
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