Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



English Language, Literature, and Creative Writing

First Advisor

Nicole Markotic




Imaginary Ancestors” is a short story collection of historiographic metafiction that follows a colonial family’s journey in New France and later Canada, bound tightly with the fate of a species of magic pear trees. Each story represents a moment in the life of one of the narrator’s kin, focusing chiefly on the first of his ancestors in the Americas—a farmer named Marin. As Marin’s story, both real and imagined, unfolds, the narrator confronts the dichotomy between the oral tradition his family has sustained through the centuries, and the lack of corroborating sources in the historiography. As the narrator grapples with gaps in his historical records, he is helped— and hindered—by the ghost of an ancestor, whose pressure for accuracy begins to conflict with the family legend that serves as the narrator’s obsession. Utilising the flaws and holes in the historical sources he possesses, the narrator writes his own past into the blank spaces around him, creating, and codifying his own “Imaginary Ancestors.