Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Degree Name

Creative Writing (Fiction)

Department or School/College

Department of English

Committee Chair

Kevin Canty

Commitee Members

David Gates, Deborah Slicer, Robert Baker


american history, american literature, literature, political history


University of Montana


Leonard Murphy lived a life of urban subsistence, on the verge of thirty, and still living alone in a studio a block from his parents in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He worked part time, he took care of his dementia ridden, and hobbled, great uncle Harold. He suffered what he felt were the betrayals of modern life: his parents and Harold growing old, his brother marrying up into a well-to-do Catholic family and converting out of the Murphy’s tradition of atheism. But when Harold dies mysteriously after claiming to be followed by a pair Gaucho detectives, Leonard is sent on a journey into Cambridge’s leftist past to figure out how Harold became alienated from his community and ended up losing a leg. Teaming up with a childhood friend, the local librarian, the director of a historical walking tour, and eventually the Gaucho detectives themselves, Leonard searches Cambridge’s history for how radicalization, community, and his family failed modernity’s great tests.

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© Copyright 2013 Sean Alan Cleary