Creative writing, fiction, novel, alternate history, comedy, horror, supernatural, psychological


A fictional novel utilizing third person limited narration from the perspective of the primary character, Ilya Kollide, who narrates the story as though it were happening in his head as it occurred, with frequent embellishments. He has come to live near an old mansion on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, named Neimasaurus, to find an antiquated, dusty world of faded aristocracy. Temporarily orphaned at the age sixteen by the recent death of his parents, he has traveled four thousand miles to live with his last living relative, an uncle named Demetri, whom he has never met. The year is 1990, only this is not a world where the rule of the Tsar was supplanted by the Soviet Union. Instead, it is a logical exploration of what Russia might resemble, had communism never taken root. While the fantastical may or may not occur, depending upon how the reader chooses to interpret the point of view of the narrator, the setting in and of itself is not meant to be fantastical. Ilya discovers that all the servants who work there are deaf, as is his uncle and his own now deceased parents, whom he carries around in an urn after mixing their ashes together. While working at the great estate of the Neimasaurus family, Ilya discovers a surprising numbers of stories and people who both parallel his own experiences and serve as allegorical warnings toward his future mistakes in life. He becomes obsessed with the idea that he is to blame for his parents’ death and sets out on a quest to bring redemption to the wounded inhabitants of the estate, only to discover that not everyone wants to be helped. In fact, they want him dead. They see him as an allegory, just as he sees them. To the young man Shoji Yamano, iii Ilya represents everything he was, and can no longer be. As such a reflection, he resolves to shatter Ilya like a mirror. The novel charts Ilya’s personal growth from a neurotic wreck, incapable of normal interaction with people, to a young man capable of not just self-sacrifice, but an understanding of what it actually means to literally sacrifice himself for the well-being of someone he barely knows. He learns to value time spent with others rather than dwelling within a narcissistic and lonely fantasy world.


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Graduation Date





Rushin, Patrick


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

Creative Writing








Release Date

December 2018

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)


Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities