Doon Arbus at McNally Jackson

Feb, 16 2023 | 6:30 PM

Doon Arbus at McNally Jackson

McNally Jackson Seaport

Address: 4 Fulton St
City: New York
State: NY
Zip: 10038

Doon Arbus Presents The Caretaker in a chorus of notable voices

RSVP for this event is required!

“Dense, visual, and true, this short book speaks volumes about the theater of the mind, and how the ensuing comedic drama we call life unfolds inside and outside our control."— Hilton Als

“An enigmatic and necessary book."— Ploughshares

Join Doon Arbus, her friends, not-quite friends, and friendly strangers to celebrate the paperback launch of her novel, The Caretaker, with excerpts read by a chorus of notable voices, including Francine Prose, Jarrett Earnest, Christine Coulson, Uli Baer, and others. The author will be in attendance, hoping for the sort of questions that are difficult to answer.

Doon Arbus’s The Caretaker takes no prisoners as it explores the perils of devotion and the potentially lethal charisma of things. Following the death of a renowned and eccentric collector—the author of Stuff, a seminal philosophical work on the art of accumulation—the fate of the privately endowed museum he cherished falls to a peripatetic stranger who had been his fervent admirer. In his new role as caretaker of The Society for the Preservation of the Legacy of Dr. Charles Morgan, this restive man, in service to an absent master, at last finds his calling. The peculiar institution over which he presides is dedicated to the annihilation of hierarchy: peerless antiquities commune happily with the ignored, the discarded, the undervalued and the valueless. What transpires as the caretaker assumes dominion over this reliquary of voiceless objects and over its visitors is told in a manner at once obsessive and matter-of-fact, and in language both cocooning and expansive.

A wry and haunting tale, The Caretaker, like the interplanetary crystal that is one of the museum’s treasures, is rare, glistening, and of a compacted inwardness. Kafka or Henry James or Shirley Jackson may come to mind, and The Caretaker may conjure up various genres—parables, ghost stories, locked-room mysteries—but Doon Arbus draws her phosphorescent water from no other writer’s well.

“Arbus takes the narrative into a realm where hallucination, perhaps, a trace of the supernatural, just maybe, and obsession, undoubtedly, are the only keys to the riddle that she, no mean trickster, has conjured up.”
The New Criterion

“ …[A] strange and beautiful meditation on time, loss, and the erosion of memory…”— Le Monde

We recommend that guests wear masks on the night.