Demon Theory

Year of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Degree Name

Creative Writing (Fiction)

Department or School/College

Department of English

Committee Chair

Deirdre McNamer

Committee Co-chair

Debra Magpie Earling

Commitee Members

Kyle Volk


demonic possession, suffrage, dissent, demons, Jewish, queer


University of Montana

Subject Categories



Demon Theory is a 66,000-word historical novel with fantastical elements. It follows the story of Raisa Lizsky, a pugnacious Jewish immigrant who fought for peace and suffrage during World War I. Imprisoned and tortured for her role in a peaceful protest, she goes home jaded to Detroit. Raisa sees injustice everywhere, but no one is listening—except for Zorodin, the demon possessing Raisa’s troubled suitor Max. Max can’t understand what the demon wants, but Raisa unravels the truth: Zorodin wants to destroy American democracy, starting with President Woodrow Wilson, the “American Tsar.” Raisa frees Max by offering herself to Zorodin and becoming the most formidable in a chain of human hosts. If the White House cannot be set right, she will burn it down.

Demon Theory strives to raise timely questions: What becomes of soldiers and dissenters once their battles are won? What does it take for a woman’s voice to be heard? And can individuals ever hope to steer the course of history?

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© Copyright 2020 Beatrice Garrard