CAST YOUR OWN SHADOW
a novel of personal and cultural identity
AVAILABLE EARLY 2015
Mother sobbed and hid her face, ashamed to ask her son for help. But sixteen-year-old Danché, guided by primeval tradition, knew what he must do. He had already visualized how he would kill Karalambros. Now, defending Mother’s honor compelled him to act immediately. Beyond avenging the policeman’s despicable deed, he hoped to achieve something he had previously believed impossible: winning his father’s respect. The boy had long rejected Mother’s persistent reminders to honor his father. That duty had been destroyed by the ridicule Father heaped upon him on the rare occasions when he had been home. Instead, Danché condemned his father. He should have been here to protect our family. At sight of Mother’s suffering, the young man aimed his wrath not only at the lecherous Karalambros but also at his father and the ancient expectation that put a son’s obligation above a father’s merit.
While Mother and Grandfather slept, the young shepherd gathered bread and hard kasseri cheese, along with three rocks that fit snugly in the sling he often trusted to ward off attacking wolves. Then he retrieved the knife Karalambros had arrogantly plunged into the dining table. Even in the darkened room, the blade was easy to see. Its polished metal quivered with an unnerving shimmer amid shadowy moon glow. He then crept down the ladder to the shed, where he searched for Grandpa’s Steyr-Mannicher rifle. The single-shot, falling-block-action Ottoman relic was effective because of its loud report and readiness despite age and infrequent lubrication. Grandfather had used it in wars against Ottoman Turks, but Danché had never tested the deadliness of its single shot. Though it held only one bullet, the boy’s adolescent arrogance assured its accuracy.
About the Author
Hello, I'm Peter Pascaris
Cast Your Own Shadow is my second published novel and my fourth overall. The adventure marks a departure from the mental health theme of Desert Lily but, like Lily, is woven with threads of family crisis and survival.
In Shadow we meet Danché whose boyhood suddenly leaps into manhood when he avenges his mother's brutal attack and becomes an international fugitive. Searching for his father, he travels thousands of miles as an illegal alien wherever he goes. His quest becomes one of identity, both personal and cultural, as he wrestles with conflicting claims of heritage and mysterious rejection by his father. Is he a Greek or a Macedonian? Why must he decide? Why does his father treat him with such scorn and abandonment? Maturity comes fast but lacks depth until he marries Sosia and begins a family in Post- Depression World War II America. Family challenges are especially difficut for this former shepherd who never understood family relationships. Stevie, his oldest son, exhibits symptoms of autism or Asperger's Syndrome, medical diagnoses that are have yet to be developed in the 1940s. As Danché comes to grips with estrangment from his father he is confronted by an inscrutable distance between himself and his own son. Not until he accepts Sosi as his equal does he begin to successfully tackle the battles that rage within him.
Other of my writings have been published in newspapers, magazines, and online. An excerpt from Desert Lily won a Soul-Making Literary First Prize from the San Francisco Bay Area National League of American Pen Women. My writing has also been awarded prizes from Writer's Digest, New Millennium Writings, The Writer Magazine, and others. Before that, I taught mathematics and chemistry for thirty-three years, and had a textbook published by Allyn and Bacon.
I am the father of three children from my first marriage and the step-father of two in my new marriage. Currently, my wife and I live in Michigan where we enjoy our blended family of five children and four grandchildren.
Some of the characters and themes of Shadow are based on my own family, but the novel is not a true story.
My experience with mental illness was primarily as the husband of a patient, but I've also had personal bouts with mild depression and grief trauma, for which I sought professional care and counseling. My understanding of mental illness grew out of my encounter with clinical depression and symptoms of obsessive compulsion when my first wife was diagnosed early in our marriage in 1966. After repeated failures with medications and various therapies of that era, my wife joined a self help group called Recovery, Inc.
It was with Recovery techniques that she gained control over her illness. She then gratefully repaid Recovery by devoting fifteen years to the organization as a group leader, serving five years as Area Leader for the Mid-Southeast Michigan Region.
After seeing the value of the Recovery method for my wife, I joined Relatives, Inc. a Recovery offshoot that applied the lessons of the patient group to relatives of patients. I soon became a Relatives leader and then served as a vice-president of the organization.
Desert Lily is based on my experience, and both self help groups play an important role in the novel. Readers can contact Recovery at http://www.recovery-inc.com/index.html and The Relatives Project at http://www.lowinstitute.org/Relatives.html.