Alena: A Novel by Rachel Pastan

By Rachel Pastan

In an encouraged restaging of Daphne du Maurier’s vintage Rebecca, a tender curator unearths herself haunted by means of the legacy of her predecessor.

At the Venice Biennale, an aspiring assistant curator from the Midwest meets Bernard Augustin, the rich, enigmatic founding father of the Nauk, a state-of-the-art artwork museum on Cape Cod. It’s been years because the tragic dying of the Nauk’s leader curator, Augustin’s youth buddy and muse, Alena. while Augustin bargains the location to our heroine (who, like du Maurier’s unique, continues to be anonymous) she dives on the chance—and fast reveals herself good out of her depth.

The Nauk echoes with phantoms of the past—a prior obsessively preserved via the museum’s enterprise supervisor and the remainder of the employees. Their devotion to the reminiscence of the charismatic Alena threatens to stifle the hot curator’s efforts to gain her personal artistic imaginative and prescient, and her each stream mires her extra deeply in inventive, erotic, and emotional entanglements. while new facts calls into query the situations of Alena’s dying, her loyalty, integrity, and braveness are placed to the try out, and shattering secrets and techniques surface.

Stirring and provocative, Alena is the results of a scrumptious visitation of 1 of the most well-liked novels of the 20th century on an excellent and artistic novelist of the twenty-first.

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As García Düttman writes of Agamben’s reading of Benjamin’s integral actuality, the idea of prose evades either “poetic singularity” 26 or “philosophic generality” in order to present “the thing no longer separated from its intelligibility . ” The world of integral actuality establishes a “between” that is no longer oriented to “two extremes” but rather “exceeds what it simultaneously separates and brings together . ” However, one cannot “persist within pure possibility” since one would no longer be hesitating before its fulfillment.

For Levinas, however, we can only know of our death, of our finitude, in experiencing the deaths of others. ”79 For Nancy, the experience of Bataillean sovereignty is an “abandonment” of being to what is outside itself. ”83 Heidegger’s “authentic being” and organic community is rejected as a being-toward (or working toward) subject to the future; instead, where community denotes only a limit that is interrupted as soon as it is reached, it is “unworked” (désouvrée). Anything one might offer as a “work,” whether it is a people, a nation, or a work of art, is “abandoned” at this limit, its proposal of exemplarity withdrawn.

106 Agamben, Coming Community, 35. 107 Agamben, Coming Community, 2. 108 Nancy, Inoperative Community, 60. 109 Nabokov, Ada, 587. Emphasis in original. 110 Nabokov, Lolita, 13. 111 Nabokov, Ada, 536. 112 Nabokov, Ada, 18. 113 Nabokov, Ada, 18. 114 Nabokov, Ada, 536. 115 Nabokov, Strong Opinions, 156. 116 Nabokov, Ada, 550. 117 Bataille, Accursed Share, 220. 118 Nabokov, Ada, 536. 119 Nabokov, Strong Opinions, 69. 120 Bataille, Accursed Share, 210. 121 Nabokov, Ada, 219-220. 122 Nabokov, Ada, 556.

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