A distance too far away : a novel and exegesis

Mulligan, Kerry-Jane (2012) A distance too far away : a novel and exegesis. Masters by Research by Creative Works, Queensland University of Technology.


This practice-led research examines the generative function of loss in fiction that explores themes of grief and longing. This research considers how loss may be understood as a structuring mechanism through which characters evaluate time, resolve loss and affect future change.

The creative work is a work of literary fiction titled A Distance Too Far Away. Aubrey, the story’s protagonist, is a woman in her twenties living in Brisbane in the early 1980s, carving out an independent life for herself away from her family. Through a flashback narrative sequence, told from the perspective of the twelve year narrator, Aubrey retraces a significant point of rupture in her life following a series of family tragedies. A Distance Too Far Away explores the tension between belonging and freedom, and considers how the past provides a malleable space for illuminating desire in order to traverse the gap between the world as it is and the world as we want it to be.

The exegetical component of this research considers an alternative critical frame for interpreting the work of American author Anne Tyler, a writer who has had a significant influence on my own practice. Frequently criticised for creating sentimental and inert characters, many critics observe that nothing happens in Tyler’s circular plots. This research challenges these assertions, and through a contextual analysis of Tyler’s Ladder of Years (1995) investigates how Tyler engages with memory and nostalgia in order to move across time and resolve loss.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 61025
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research by Creative Works)
Supervisor: Pearce, Sharyn
Keywords: narrative, nostalgia, grief, loss, longing, absence, time, identity, play, imagination, home, belonging, creative writing, practice-led research
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 Jun 2013 23:28
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:23

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