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Alena

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This Side of Married hardback cover   Lady of the Snakes hardback cover
 
 

Rachel Pastan's Alena
is at once a meticulously reconstructed death scene and an intelligent conversation about the nature of art; this skillfully crafted novel, which sustains the tension of a ghost story, is both an homage to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca and an insightful meditation on our obsessive preoccupation with death - simultaneously creepy and entrancing.

— John Irving
 

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In an inspired restaging of Daphne du Maurier's classic Rebecca, a young curator finds herself haunted by the legacy of her predecessor

It's been two years since the tragic death of Alena, curator at the Nauk, a cutting-edge art museum on Cape Cod. At the Venice Biennale, Bernard Augustin, the Nauk's wealthy, enigmatic founder—to whom Alena had been childhood friend and muse—offers the position to an aspiring young curator from the Midwest. It's the job of her dreams, and she dives at the chance.

Just as quickly, she finds herself well out of her depth. The Nauk echoes with phantoms of the past—a past obsessively preserved by the museum's staff—and the newcomer's every move mires her more deeply in artistic, erotic, and emotional entanglements. When new evidence calls into question the circumstances of Alena's death, shattering secrets surface, putting to the test the loyalty, integrity, and courage of our heroine—who remains nameless, like the heroine of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, the inspiration for this provocative and spellbinding tale.

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