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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

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Novel, hats, Pennsylvania, music, Jewish, transgender


The Book of Hats" is a novel of adult literary fiction that comes in six hat-inspired sections. The novel opens late on a Saturday night when the phone rings and Ida Velikowsky, seventy-year-old wannabe tough guy who, in actuality, is a bit of a marshmallow, is woken out of a dream of hats. She runs into the living room and picks up the phone and hears on the other end of it the unwelcome voice of her no-goodnik brother Benny. She hasn't talked to him in forty years.

Ida is someone who likes to keep her world small. She plays her cards close to her chest and faces each day as if it were an obstacle course in which memory and intimacy are the things that must be avoided at all costs. She is most comfortable when reading the “National Geographic” and avoiding friends. For nearly six years, since the death of her lover Gertie, she’s managed to stay in a fairly comfortable state of emotional shut-down. Then Benny calls and she finds herself vulnerable to memory, hope and rage, and even more painful, regret.

She doesn't want to see Benny. She knows it's not a good idea to see him. But she finds herself wondering if, by seeing him, something in her life could be restored. The novel opens with Benny's call and moves, comic and menacing, toward a possible reunion.


First Advisor

Sabina Murray

Second Advisor

Jed Berry