A Dramatic Turn for 'The Secret Life of Objects'

Dawn Raffel's book will truly come to life Wednesday night at The Center for Fiction in New York.

Esther McGowan Dawn Raffel The Secret Life of Objects

BOOK ENDS: Dawn Raffel will see her book “The Secret Life of Objects,” truly come to life Wednesday night at The Center for Fiction in New York. Choreographer and director Birgitta Trommler is turning five of the center’s eight floors into dramatic installations with live performances that illustrate the author’s memoir. Raffel’s nonfiction draws upon the memories tied to some of her everyday belongings such as a watch, old earrings and a lock of hair, and other simple belongings open a world of memory and desire. During this “Sleep No More”-type event, guests will wander from one floor to the next to catch each of the cinematic scenarios.

The finale, so to speak, will feature Raffel reading the chapter from her book about how she struggled to decide which outfit would be most appropriate for the internment of her fashion-minded mother. A pianist will provide the background music, as Esther McGowan tries on an assortment of dresses and shoes (Marni among them) including some pieces that belonged to Raffel’s mother. Having collaborated with Philip Glass and Oscar-winning director Caroline Linke, Trommler’s next project is the 13th Munich Biennale, International Festival for New Music Theatre. Raffel, meanwhile, will be off to Vilnius, Lithuania this summer to teach. Once they have passed through the eight-story East 47th Street building, Gordon Lish, Diane Williams, Christine Schutt, Carmela Ciuraru and other guests will toast the author.

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