Motion of Souls




Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



Document Type



Frustrated schoolteacher, Anto Hogan, a Dubliner living in San Diego is a peripatetic romantic, sometimes an angry husband, and at other times a son haunted by an inability to communicate with his father. Anto is also condemned to regret the break-up of his relationship with his first love, Una O’Brien. From Anto and Jane’s initial thrill and hopes for their prospective parenthood, the marriage is ripped apart by Jane’s miscarriage. Anto’s naïve friendship with Jane’s friend, Lucia threatens to end the marriage. He decides to take a trip home to Ireland to see his family and get some perspective on his marriage. Whilst at home, his father suffers an aneurysm and Anto’s trip becomes a nightmare, within which he deals with his fractured relationship with his brother, Donal. Anto flies back to America and when he gets to JFK finds out his father has taken a turn for the worse. Anto returns to Ireland for the funeral and tries to mend fences with his mother and brother. Anto discovers family secrets that undermine his whole being and he returns to Una O’Brien’s grave before going back to California to put the pieces of his life back together. Back in America, Anto understands that he is condemned to love and be loved only by the specter of Una O’Brien. Motion of Souls examines what it means to be obsessed by ghosts, how to gain a better understanding of one’s own psyche, and how to transcend a shattered marriage and the uncovered lies of childhood. Set in Ireland and California, and spanning thirty years of Anto Hogan’s life, Motion of Souls presents the reader with a flawed, yet somehow sympathetic main character, who discovers how to live on his own terms.



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Committee Chair

Wilcox, James



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