Now, Pastan’s experience at ICA has inspired a larger project: her latest novel Alena, which is set in a (very different and very fictional) contemporary art museum on the North East coast.
Here’s just a sprinkling of the praise that Alena has garnered:
Alena is often a brilliant takedown of the self-serious art world, rendering it helplessly camp by sprinkling some of its august and/or provocative names…—The New York Times
Pastan’s ingenuity is evident in her treatment of the Nauk. A modernist building made of glass and steel, it’s the antithesis to Manderley (Maxim de Winter’s estate in Rebecca) and its dark, dank corridors, great chimneys, and secret passages. While the exterior is transparent, clean, and efficient, however, the Nauk is as dark and twisted as du Maurier’s Gothic mansion.
We’re devouring Rachel Pastan’s spellbinding Alena, a modern reimagining of Daphne du Maurier’s classic mystery, Rebecca.