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Title: What we leave behind : a novel and critical commentary
Author: Ryan, Kerry
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2010
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This PhD submission consists of: (i) a novel, What We Leave Behind (WWLB); and (ii) a critical commentary. (i). What We Leave Behind relates two months in the life of Rowan O’Reilly in 2009, and has four settings: the fictional town of Darden, London, Paris and a retirement community in the Campsies. After being told by her father that her dead mother is alive, Rowan leaves Darden to search for her mother, Marianne, who disappeared in 1978. In 2004 I discovered a website seeking information on Shelagh McDonald, a Scottish folk singer who released two albums in the Seventies before she disappeared. In 2003 both albums were re-released; however, Shelagh’s disappearance remained a mystery. From this beginning, I imagined what would happen if Shelagh had had a child who believed her mother was dead. While mother and daughter relations are crucial to the work, WWLB also engages with the legacy of cultural, social and political change of the 1960s and 1970s while investigating how identity is shaped by decline and development in the urban landscape. As well as considering the subjective and selective nature of memory and the role of music in society, the novel examines the plurality of the Scottish working class experience and life in housing estates in Glasgow and Paris. (ii). The critical commentary discusses the novel’s structure and narrative strategies, as well as its themes of marginalia, marginality, motherhood and music in the text. It examines the ways in which WWLB responds to the Scottish literary tradition, specifically its relation to what Clandfield and Lloyd name ‘redevelopment fiction’ (2007, p.124). Thus, the commentary also considers the role of class, language and the use of the vernacular in WWLB. It concludes with an account of the difficulties of transforming researched information into art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available