Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Mexico, American, Travel, Exile
CROSSLANDS is a novel about two Americans, Walter and Sissy, who find themselves trapped in Mexico. They are out of money, credit, and a job. They are trapped because they haven’t been able to secure a passport for their Mexican-born son, and have been told by the authorities, both American and Mexican, that they won’t be able to leave without one.
The novel is a gradual pressuring of these characters as they go from town to town in an effort to bribe an official to give them what they need. As they grow more frantic, all the failings of their young marriage, and the dubious circumstances surrounding it, are revealed.
The main character, Walter, is an idealistic, though unsuccessful actor from New York City. Sissy is young and volatile, emaciated from a country constantly violating her body.
Except for a few brief flashbacks, the setting occurs entirely in Mexico- principally in Querétaro, but also in Mexico City and Patzcuaro.
Seen through one lens, the novel is about Walter’s desperation to maintain his artistic freedom. It also turns the current Mexican immigration issue on its head. By stripping away all the benefits of being American (money, influence, etc.), even the identity of their son, Walter and Sissy are reduced to the plight that many immigrants suffer in the United States. They confront the language barrier, the strangeness of a foreign culture, and ironically, the fence that runs along the border prevents them from returning to their own country.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair