Childhood abuse, mental illness, family problems, cremation, oral will
Evidence of Lives is a novel that deals with themes of childhood abuse, mental illness, and alienated families. The book opens with the main character, forty-two-year-old Mark Barr, who has returned home from New York to West Virginia after eleven years for his older brother Steve’s funeral. Steve, having died of a heart attack at forty-six, was mentally ill most of his adult life, though Mark has always questioned what was “mentally ill” and what was the result of their father’s verbal and physical abuse during their childhood. When Mark discovers that there is to be no funeral, but a cremation without service, he calls his girlfriend, an attorney back in New York, who tells him he has a “legal responsibility” to voice his brother’s oral will. Just nights before his death, Steve called Mark and conveyed his last wishes to be buried, not cremated. The book unfolds into an odyssey for Mark to discover love for his brother posthumously in a loveless family. Evidence of Lives is a portrait of an oldest brother’s supposed mental illness and unfulfilled life, as well as a redeeming tale of a youngest brother’s alienation from his family and his guilt for abandoning them.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities
Cummings, John, "Evidence Of Lives" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2377.