With her evocative prose, Pastan matches the hothouse tension of Du Maurier’s story Rebecca while infusing her new novel, Alena, with its own hairpin twists and turns and devastating denouement. She draws upon her own experience to wonderful effect, giving readers entree into the alluring and sometimes disconcerting world of avant-garde art and artists. The result is a lyrical murder mystery that is just as tantalizing to those who have never read Rebecca as the many for whom it is a cherished classic. From a dazzling inside look at the Venice Biennale to the inner workings of a cutting-edge museum set on a moody and atmospheric Cape Cod, Pastan offers a window into a world of scintillating artistic, erotic, and emotional entanglements. Haunted and haunting, Alena is an inspired and provocative story that explores creative and romantic rivalry and the blurred borderline between art and artist.
Rachel Pastan is the author of two previous novels, Lady of the Snakes and This Side of Married, and has won numerous prizes for her short fiction. A member of the core faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars, she is also Editor-at-Large for the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, where she writes the blog Miranda.