Pacifique is a novel of trauma and recovery set in contemporary Victoria, British Columbia. Tia, the protagonist, meets Pacifique one cold February evening. Five sex- and passion-fueled nights later, a bike ride ends with Tia's head colliding with concrete. When she wakes, Pacifique is gone. Worse, it's unclear whether Pacifique ever existed in the first place. Driven mad in the search for a woman who may be a figment of her imagination, Tia is institutionalized in a psychiatric ward. The doctors tell her she is suffering from head-injury induced psychosis; her fellow patients—including Andrew, a man with schizophrenia—urge her to forget Pacifique. Told in chapters alternating between Tia's and Andrew's points of view, the novel keeps readers asking: is Pacifique real? The novel examines notions of credibility and truth: whom to believe? The medical establishment or the “patients”? The novel also examines how behaviour outside the heteronormative—particularly “obsessive” behaviour or “fantasies”—are pathologized in our culture. Fundamentally, the novel is a story about the thin veil between fantasy and reality, about the choices we make to be happy—and how these choices cannot always coexist. Inspired by Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Holly Luhning’s Quiver and Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted, Pacifique can be situated within the psychological thriller genre in the way it plays with the notion of reality and alternate realities.
DegreeMaster of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
DepartmentInterdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity
CommitteeBorsa, Joan; James-Cavan, Kathleen; Dyck, Erika
Copyright DateJune 2014