I’ll have to leave detailed accounts of first-generation Greek immigrants to America to others who have truly intimate material to draw from. Simply portraying the relocation of my mainstream grandparents from a Midwestern farm to a nearby city would prove difficult to pull off.

Still, in my new novel, What’s Left, I find enough to suggest some of Cassia’s great-grandparents’ possible experiences and achievements. She has reason to take pride in what they’ve established for her extended close family. It was, after all, one place her father-to-be would fit well, despite his initial resistance. And now she’s struggling to make sense of it all, especially in her circle of siblings and cousins.


Not everyone who came to America dissolved into the melting pot concept. Still, they had to sacrifice something. The question just might be, How much?

Extend that to our own personal identities.

What’s your idea of “normal”? How well do you fit in?


A young Greek-American immigrant on Ellis Island, New York late 19th-20th century. (Hulton Archive via Wikimedia Commons.)

Cassia’s roots included scenes like this.


  1. Oh my, I don’t even know what my idea of normal is anymore. I thought I knew when I was in my early 20’s, but as the years went by the normalcy veil dissipated.

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