First Advisor

Debra Gwartney

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing






Murder -- Washington (State) -- Fiction, Small cities -- Washington (State) -- Fiction, Secrecy -- Fiction



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 375 p.)


A first-person narrative adult novel explores the theme of abandonment with its residual and enduring effects, and its antithetical theme of loyalty that is continually tested and measured. The protagonist, editor of the local newspaper in a small, isolated agricultural community in the mid-1960s, provides the narrative nexus of two families. His is a community which is a mix of characters that are quirky by virtue of their natures or the remote circumstances of their existence. Both families in focus have treasure troves of secrets. Only after the appearance of a mysterious young woman and her subsequent murder do the tightly bound secrets of the families and the larger community begin to unravel. The narrator reveals his personal story as it relates to how he reacts and responds to the events at hand. Adding to his personal experience in the community, the narrator offers texture and enhancement to the story through archived newspaper articles and his interpretation of short silent movie reels chronicling the town's history from its earliest days until the end of World War II. Characters from within and without the community assume disguises to maintain their lifestyle or achieve a nefarious purpose while other characters hide behind the falsehoods of their comfortable, everyday lives. The one honest character becomes a victim of his own purity, despite attempts of the narrator to intervene. Not until forty years after the events that changed so many lives is it safe for the truth to bubble to the surface.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


Portland State University. Dept. of English

Persistent Identifier