Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.F.A. in Creative Writing

Department

English

First Advisor

Tom Franklin

Second Advisor

Tom Franklin

Third Advisor

John Brandon

Abstract

A fiction collection consisting of six short stories followed by a novella. The pieces attempt to be comic, but also--with debatable success--to be more than just comic. As the title suggests, one of the collection's thematic concerns is mercy and its absence. Most of the pieces are set in Texas; characters in the collection include a female student in an absurdly incompetent public high school, a parking cop, the best friend of a stand-up comedian, an Abilene man whose life goal is to be struck by lightning, and an unselfconscious grandfather character, who bookends the beginning and end of the collection. "Fayette," the first story in the collection, appeared originally in the Austin Chronicle. All of the stories were submitted and revised in fiction workshops at Ole Miss, under the tutelage of Tom Franklin, Jack Pendarvis, John Brandon and the great and sorely missed Barry Hannah.

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