Restoring the Exiled Self

Brown, Katie
Siobhan, Harvey
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Master of Creative Writing
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Auckland University of Technology

Mnemosyne: a Nine-Fold Tale is a draft of a creative thesis, or novel manuscript, depicting the intertwined fates of Aisling, an Irish girl who loses her capacity to see daylight, and her father, Cillian, a man battling his demons. Set across 1874 to 1899 in Ireland and New Zealand, it sits in the genre of magical realism, where real-life happenings are interspersed with occurrences in the Irish Otherworld.

As a means of critically analyzing and contextualizing the work, the accompanying exegesis Restoring the Exiled Self explores the thesis’ key themes of identity, spirituality and redemption. Within this exploration, the ideology of Celtic spirituality, especially pertaining to Irish mythology, holds particular significance, along with the concept of a threefold self.

Relating to identity, the significance of land and language is examined in the context of both Ireland and the Irish Gaelic language, and of Te Ao Māori. Tied in with this is a reference to and consideration of what it means to be Pākehā within the context of both the Irish diaspora and colonization.

Finally, a consideration of allegory within the thesis text also plays a strong part, alongside a discussion of the work’s mechanical aspects of structure, voice and tense, and the key literary texts considered in relationship to this.

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