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Publication Date

Spring 2015

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Nicholas P. Taylor


cemetery, death, fiction, novel, realism

Subject Areas

Modern literature; American literature; Comparative literature


Death is often a cliché and convenient endpoint for works of literary fiction. In Cemetery Seasons, however, death is the beginning of a heartfelt and occasionally cynical love story between Duncan, a cemetery-worker in the grips of the grieving process, and Jenna, a fiery journalist whose own recent struggles with death have led her to the grounds of Oak Hill. For Duncan, who lost his parents at a young age, death has gripped him for nearly his entire life. His most recent loss, however, is his young fiancée, Susie. For Jenna, on the other hand, death becomes a relatively new visitor when she loses her mother. Duncan accidentally disrupts Jenna’s mother’s funeral with a noisy lawnmower, and the two are brought together in an unlikely way—and in an unusual setting. Rather than seeing death as an end, Cemetery Seasons examines the ways in which death acts as a catalyst for new life experiences. Each of the novel’s many characters confronts death in some way or another. Primarily told through Duncan’s eyes, readers are invited to consider the ways that death affects their own lives; the narrator’s mathematical and often hardened look at death as an industry provides readers with an inside look at the side of death that they do not often see. All the while, the novel follows the conventions of a typical romantic comedy, and readers are pushed and pulled as Duncan’s relationship with Jenna hangs in the balance.