Home » Garie McIntosh’s thematic trilogy

Technical aspects of the novels

The revised edition of What’s in a Name and two other books to be published form a series of inter-related novels in a thematic trilogy called The Barred-Spiral Trilogy. The theme is a reflective take on the relationship between mothers and their children.

As “bars generally affect . . . the motion of stars within spiral galaxies,” the trilogy is named for comparing a mother’s influence to what happens, the motions, in a spiral galaxy that has a central bar-shaped structure. Mothers are these structures, within which galaxies exist. Their children, residing within these galaxies, are the stars—which are affected by the motions, the events in our lives and every encounter therein that mothers effect.

Literary genre

Literary fiction with speculative elements of the supernatural (fantasy) and the dystopian as a main plot element, theme, or setting

Genre (umbrella genre)

Speculative fiction in the context of supernatural, futuristic or other imaginative themes

Subgenre (element, theme or setting)

  • Dystopian fiction (a genre of speculative fiction), which “explores social and political structures”
  • Supernatural fiction, which “exploits or requires as plot devices or themes some contradictions of the commonplace natural world and materialist assumptions about it”


The Barred-Spiral Trilogy is an allegorical theme about the undeniable influence that mothers have on their children.

The Allegories

What’s in a Name uses “the abuse and obscenity of silence” as an allegory for childhood traumas spanning into adulthood.

The Perfumed Shroud is an allegory for a woman’s grief, which the novel uses to reinforce that a mother’s denial can have deadly consequences.Whaleseasons, a portmanteau coined from a combination of whales and seasons, is an allegory for the shocking experiences and realities of men who, having accepted that they need their mothers, discover that mothers destroy sons. The novel maps Christology as a spiritual allegory onto narratology to define the true nature, or hypostasis, of the central character, Bushnell (Kingsley Busha Ⅰ). He discovers that to get his wife and children to move back into the house after they have left him, he must find the answer to an enduring question from his past. Meanwhile, the reader is tasked with figuring out Bushnell’s reality amongst the boy, the man, and the father.

Novel structure

Character story

“The story begins at the moment when the main character becomes so unhappy, impatient or angry in her present role that she begins the process of change; it ends when the character either settles into a new role (happily or not) or gives up the struggle and remains in the old role (happily or not).”

  • What’s in a Name
  • Whaleseasons

Event story

“In the event story, something is wrong in the fabric of the universe; the world is out of order.”

  • The Perfumed Shroud