English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date



This dissertation consists of a novel entitled Skinning the Deer: A Love Story. Alternating between the landscapes of New Mexico and rural Maine, the novel examines the life of tortured lesbian Hannah Huff and the brutal excision of her glorious wings—those magical appendages she grew in secret—the two downy white miracles she believed would be her ticket out of Monkstown, Maine, a desperate landscape of backwoods trailers, dogs, and family members, where her only interactions are either detached or violent. While the novel alternates between Hannah as an adult and Hannah as a child, it is first and foremost a coming-of-age story and a journey into the past to reclaim lost innocence. Inspired by the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dorothy Allison, and Salman Rushdie, Skinning the Deer weaves together magical realism, trauma narrative, and myth; it is a novel about sexuality, betrayal, and what we sacrifice for redemption.

Degree Name

MFA Creative Writing

Level of Degree


Department Name


First Advisor

Mueller, Daniel

First Committee Member (Chair)

Shigekuni, Julie

Second Committee Member

Hofer, Matthew

Third Committee Member

O'Donnell, Patricia




Novel, Magical Realism, Maine

Document Type