English, Department of


First Advisor

Chigozie Obioma

Second Advisor

Joy Castro

Third Advisor

Jonis Agee

Date of this Version


Document Type



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Chigozie Obioma. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2023

Copyright © 2023 John Kuligowski


YOU NEVER REALLY LEAVE is a thesis which consists in a critical introduction that broadly explores my experience of creating a short story collection, as well as the ensuing collection of five short stories. The critical introduction examines the form and content of the following stories, as well as the influences that have been instrumental to my writing. It furnishes details about themes and subject matter which have been consistent in my fiction thus far, and it depicts some of the motivations behind it. The stories themselves range from a realist mode to what has been labeled by other writers and critics as “speculative” or “slipstream,” but are united by the notion of haunted lives, whether this haunting for the characters is something from a past that cannot be escaped, or a future which feels to be unavoidable.

Advisor: Chigozie Obioma