Too good to last?

Her uncle Dimitri, the oldest of three brothers, has Adonis good looks and style to match. He earns a prestigious Masters of Business Administration degree and possesses sharp financial skills. He also advocates radical values in politics and social justice, has taken up Buddhism, and uses astrology to evaluate potential colleagues – as he does in luring Cassia’s future father actively into the family.

In my new novel, What’s Left, she assumes all of this is the way life should be, right up to the tragedies that send her spiraling.

Well, this passage went into the compost – but it was part of the emerging thinking:

And still further?

Well, from Dimitri there’s the basic issue of pricing. As Baba argued, how could you charge a dollar for a dish that cost you only ten cents? In reply, he learned to add in the cost of labor and the building itself and crockery and utilities and taxes and downtime and general infrastructure – well, that’s a lesson in ongoing accounting and economics. Or community. Or even fully pricing his own services as a photographer. And that’s only the beginning of the business side, even before Tito and Manoula’s input.


When it comes to participating in an organization or planning a big event, I’ve come to value having a few partners who have business skills and insights. The kind, especially, who come up with detailed lists of what’s needed and how to do it.

Tell us about your favorite person in the business world. Any special lessons?


Greek dolmadakia made with common mallow leaves stuffed with a rice and herb mix. Around here, grape leaves are the norm. Photo by Saintfevrier via Wikimedia Commons.

In the family, Cassia may have had food like this. (Well, she was almost named Dolma, as the story relates.)

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