This book won the 2015 Shirley Jackson award, which was all I needed to pick the book up. I did a very slow read of it, as in over the span of a couple months, and by the time I had gotten to the end I was admonishing myself for dragging so long. In short, this is an amazing book.
Experimental Film is the story of Lois Cairns, a Canadian film history expert who is at a bleak chapter of her life. Currently unemployed, questioning her capability and her character as she tries to raise her autistic son, she learns of a woman who could quite possibly be Ontario’s first woman filmmaker who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Seeing the potential for an excellent documentary as well as a means towards getting her career back on track, Lois starts finding clues as to the life and disappearance of Mrs. Whitcomb, clues that lead to bizarre occurrences that start encroaching upon her life and the lives of her family, building to a crescendo of old world horror that threatens to drag life as we know it back to a cruel, cruel place.
Experimental Film unfolds at a steady pace worthy of the mystery in hides. Files creates a steady pressure on the atmospheric dread that carries through the book, interweaving it with a fantastic view into the lives of a cast of characters who are fleshed-out and real. Much of Lois’ inner thoughts that are shared revolve around her high standards she holds herself to in various roles in her life, and her challenges in upholding them. Files goes in deep, creating an honest main character of depth and complexity. Experimental Film is an excellent combination of deep horror and masterful character building that creates a reading experience of rare proportions.
Experimental Film can be bought here.