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Caleb Carr, author of 'The Alienist', dies at 68

Caleb Carr and his cat Masha pictured at the author's home in Cherry Plain, N.Y.
Courtesy Caleb Carr
Caleb Carr and his cat Masha pictured at the author's home in Cherry Plain, N.Y.

Caleb Carr, the bestselling author of The Alienist who repeatedly mined the origins of violence in both his fiction and nonfiction works, has died. He was 68 years old.

Carr died from cancer at his home in upstate New York on Thursday, according to his publicist, Katharine Myers.

His 1994 period thriller The Alienist investigates the murders of young male prostitutes in the late nineteenth century. His 2002 nonfiction book about terrorism The Lessons of Terror was written in response to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Caleb Carr's new book is a memoir about life spent with his beloved rescue cat

“Idiosyncratic, brilliant and soft-hearted, Caleb was a constant in my life for decades, as a longtime client and friend since high school,” said Carr's agent Suzanne Gluck in a statement shared with NPR. “In his books he used his pain to shed light on the darkest places of the human mind.”

Carr was born in 1955 in Manhattan, N.Y. and had a chaotic childhood. His parents divorced when he was young. He had a violent and abusive father who was prone to drink and regularly lashed out at his son.

In his recent memoir My Beloved Monster, Carr wrote about finding solace in his friendships with cats.

"It's a distinctly different kind of companionship than you get from any other animal," Carr said in an April interview for NPR. "But once you accept it on their terms, it's really amazing."

Carr's book focuses specifically on his beloved cat Masha, the author's constant companion for the last 17 years of his life. The pair struggled with cancer together.

"She made it possible for me to survive," Carr told NPR. "I like to think, I hope, that I did the same for her."

Copyright 2024 NPR

Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.
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