Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing



Advisor 1

Douglas Unger, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Pablo Medina

Second Committee Member

V. Nicholas Lolordo

Third Committee Member

Daniel Villanueva

Number of Pages



The following novel is the third draft of my creative thesis entitled Dancing in the Ashes . It is an exploration of the Detroit rave scene in its dying days, and it mixes real and imagined places and events in order to portray the essence of that time, if not the factuality. The bulk of the novel follows just over two weeks in the life of Thomas Kowalski, a drug dealer living with his parents in suburban Detroit. He parties constantly and seldom works except as necessary to keep his job at a local record store - an invaluable source of connections. The rave scene has been dying a slow death for years, and when Thomas' friend Haas decides to throw one big party, the Detroit dance community is slapped out of its apathy for one wild night of revelry. The events stemming from that night become the defining incidents in the life of Thomas and his friends, and commence a stark epitaph for the carefree days of the rave movement. Being set in Detroit and its suburbs, the novel cannot help but explore themes of race and urban decay, but the majority of the characters are suburban, and in attempting to portray them realistically and sympathetically I have made the characters occasionally confused, disinterested, misguided or apathetic. As much as this is a novel about Detroit's dance culture and the deleterious effects of drugs within it, it is also about young people slowly coming to terms with the collapse of American industry and the narrowing of the middle class. The novel is set in winter: the literal winter of January 2002, and the allegorical winter of the ironic mode - the fall from a low place. The characters within this novel do not lead great or heroic lives, but I have tried to treat them as lives worth considering nonetheless. Their environment is bleak and cold, their prospects dim, their city dying. I have only tried to tell the story of all of us who were there in an informative, entertaining, and faithful fashion.


Dance cultures; Detroit; Michigan; Drug dealers; Novels; Parties; Raves; Original writing


American Literature | Creative Writing

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit