Peter Matthiessen Wheelwright, THE DOOR-MAN @ Morton Memorial Library

Event date: 
Thursday, May 19, 2022 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
Morton Memorial Library
82 Kelly Street
Rhinecliff, NY 12547

In conversation with Andrea Barnet.

Free. Registration Required.


Peter Matthiessen Wheelwright will talk with author Andrea Barnet about his new novel THE DOOR-MAN, a mix of fact and fiction that follows three generations of interwoven families who share a deep wound from the intentional 1917 flooding of a Catskill valley town to make way for a reservoir. The story is told by a disaffected NYC doorman.

Peter M. WheelwrightThe Door-Man by Peter M. WheelwrightAndrea Barnet

Peter Matthiessen Wheelwright is a writer, educator, and architect. He is a Professor Emeritus at The New School, Parsons School in New York City. As It Is On Earth, his first work of fiction, received a 2013 PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention for Literary Excellence in Debut Fiction. His architectural work has been widely published, and The Kaleidoscope House, a modernist dollhouse designed in collaboration with the artist Laurie Simmons, is in the Collection of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art. He comes from a family of writers, naturalists, and architects. His uncle and namesake is the late, three-time National Book Award recipient, Peter Matthiessen.

Andrea Barnet is the author of Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall and Alice Waters Changed Our World, a finalist for the 2019 PEN/ Bograd Weld Award for Biography, and a Booklist 2018 Editors’ choice for biography. Her previous book, All-Night Party: The Women of Bohemian Greenwich Village and Harlem, 1913-1930 was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her journalism has appeared in the New York Times, where she was a regular contributor for twenty-five years, Smithsonian Magazine, Harpers Bazaar, and The Toronto Globe and Mail, among other publications. She splits her time between the Hudson Valley and New York City.

Your purchase of a book helps support the author and our independent bookstore and is greatly appreciated. Shipping or pickup available.  Books will also be available to purchase at this event.

In 1917, during the construction of a large reservoir in the Catskill hamlet of Gilboa, New York, a young paleontologist named Winifred Goldring identified fossils from an ancient forest flooded millions of years ago when the earth's botanical explosion of oxygen opened a path for the evolution of humankind. However, the reservoir water was needed for NYC, and the fossils were buried once again during the flooding of the doomed town.

A mix of fact and fiction, The Door-Man follows three generations of interwoven families who share a deep wound from Gilboa's last days. The story is told by Winifred's grandson, a disaffected NYC doorman working near the Central Park Reservoir during its decommissioning in 1993.

The brief and provisional nature of one’s life on earth – as well as the nested histories of the places, people and events that give meaning to it – forms the backdrop to a reckoning with “Deep Time” within the tangled roots and fragile bonds of family.

“Wheelwright is a thoughtful, meticulous writer…A scientifically intriguing, dramatic, and challenging read.” - Kirkus Reviews

As seen in The New Yorker's 2022 Briefly Noted.

Also by the author of As It Is On Earth, 2013 recipient of The PEN/Hemingway Honorable Mention for Literary Excellence in Debut Fiction.