Publication Date

Fall 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


English and Comparative Literature


Nick Taylor



Subject Areas

Creative writing


Good Grief is a novel that follows one family as they move through the five stages of grief. The purpose of the creative work is to focus on the complicated relationships of a blended family, and further complicate that with the added pressure of mourning a loved one, while still fulfilling familial and societal obligations. It is a meditation on the different ways people handle emotional trauma. Grief is a universal concept, but often mistreated or misunderstood. Grief, as a process, takes several different forms, some of which—expressing pain through joviality or sensuality—are shrouded in shame. My thesis challenges the notion of normative coping behaviors, while also telling an engaging and emotionally evocative story about one family with a convoluted lineage and even more complex relationships to each other. Good Grief follows a five-stage model of grief; it leads with denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally ends with acceptance. The novel is split into five sections with each one focusing on a different family member. Each character in this work expresses his or her individualized way of grieving by embodying one of the five stages. This allows me to deeply investigate the intricate nature of grief and how it is further complicated by each member’s gender, age, and relationship to the deceased.