RACHEL PASTAN reads from ALENA. In an inspired restaging of Daphne du Maurier's classic Rebecca, a young curator finds herself haunted by the legacy of her predecessor.
At the Venice Biennale, an aspiring young curator is given the career break of a lifetime when she meets Bernard Augustin, the wealthy, enigmatic founder of the Nauk, a cutting-edge art museum on Cape Cod. Would she like to take the reins at the museum—a position that has remained vacant since the tragic death of the charismatic Alena, Augustin’s childhood friend and muse? Shaking off her Midwestern past, our heroine—nameless, as is du Maurier’s original—jumps at the chance, only to find herself well beyond her depths. Like du Maurier’s Manderley, the Nauk echoes with phantoms of the past—a past obsessively preserved by the sinister, Mrs. Danvers-like business manager who was passionately devoted to Alena. The shadow of her predecessor hangs over the narrator as she tries to shift the Nauk away from the extreme art favored by Alena and to express her own sense of what art is. When new evidence calls into question the circumstances of Alena’s death, however, her loyalties, integrity, and courage are put to the test and shattering secrets come to the surface.