"The Blessing"

Walker, Jessica, Creative Writing - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Walker, Jessica, AS-English Lit Ops, University of Virginia

The Blessing/The Selves of Sylvia Grace is a tragicomic speculative novel about Grace, a young woman who finds herself abducted and unconscious on the outskirts of Moscow. Grace loses power over her body but she magically gains the power of omniscient narration and the ability to see all parts of her life--past, present and future. During the blackout period Grace distracts herself from what is happening by telling her story. She gravitates to the unknown parts of her life, the stories beneath the surface that make her who she is.

Grace is the product of a paternity fraud, a fact hidden from her by her young mother and the middle-aged man she believes to be her father. Grace examines her mother’s trajectory from party girl to evangelical Christian as her mother achieves fame painting photorealistic renderings of clients' children in Biblical scenes. Grace considers her distant relationship with the man her mother paternity-frauded, an attorney who continues to pose as her father despite learning the truth. Grace looks into her future and sees how she will cope with a trauma she will never remember as she goes on to become a swashbuckling, foul-mouthed art handler and body builder. As Grace traces the threads of her life--past, present and future-- she must decide how to tell the story of the abduction itself, and whether to tell that story at all. As she circles her own trauma, she focuses on her parents’ difficult backstory and the men at the center of it—an elementary school art teacher with extremely creepy practices and famed Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Set in a small Southern town, the Manhattan art world, Europe and Moscow, this novel-in-progress is a study in how a brain processes the truths we know, the truths we don’t know and truths we don’t want to know.

MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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