A LOVE STORY
OF HOPE & EXPECTATION
The title Desert Lily — a flower that lies dormant for twenty years before blooming again — and the opening line when Nick says, “Amy stumbles. I catch her arm and nearly fall with her.” — suggest Nick and Amy’s bittersweet story.
Nick’s haunting first-person tale of experiences after his depressive-compulsive wife is hospitalized is told with stream of conscious accounts that reflect his urgency and reveal his thoughts as he gains understanding over the novel’s twenty-year progression.
1960s ignorance and vulnerability threaten the marriage, but unfailing devotion and never-ending hope enable success. As Amy improves, Nick is baffled by his unhappiness until he realizes that he is not responsible for his lily’s rebirth and he cannot control what sort of flower might bloom as she recovers.
Adjustments come slowly but victory is always in sight. In court, Nick resolves to rescue Amy from accusers but crumbles on the stand. When Amy is called, Nick is overcome by fears of her reverting to the cowering pathetic creature she had been not long ago. Instead, it is Amy who comes to his rescue by testifying with confidence. The couple and their three young children have reason to celebrate. Nick and Amy have triumphed and are armed to defeat all enemies. Amy is no longer controlled by fear, and Nick no longer denies his emotion or tries to control every situation.
Then, as Amy is about to begin a new career, she is stricken with pancreatic cancer. Overcome by Amy’s anguish, Nick despairs that he must once again assume complete command his feelings and be totally responsible for everyone’s happiness except his own. Yet, he is also left with powerful insight.
Desert Lily bares the caretaker’s mind, explores the process by which he reclaims his identity, and ends with a surprising but cautious optimism.
Desert Lily is a novel written as the fictional story of Amy and Nick. It is based on the real-life experiences of author Peter Pascaris.
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In this haunting novel, mental depression, sexual temptation, and society's skewed perceptions threaten to destroy one couple's marriage.
“Pascaris’s skillful writing and ruthless honesty detail the lives of Nick and Amy, keeping us engaged and unable to look away as we are transformed by their resilience.”—Margo LaGattuta, MFA, author of Freefalling: Writing without Limits
Nick Demetriou is torn. His twenty-five-year-old wife, Amy, suffers from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, and Nick is in over his head. But admitting her to the Lynwood Psychiatric Hospital in Michigan would feel like surrender. On the eve of their daughter’s first birthday in 1966, it becomes painfully evident that Nick has no choice. Amy’s wasted, eighty-pound body and listless eyes haunt his conscience, and if he doesn’t do something now, she might not be around for their daughter’s second year.
While Amy endures shock treatments and becomes reliant on tranquilizers, Nick struggles with the fear that his love won’t be enough to guard against the demons that caused her illness. Faced with conflicting advice from health professionals, family, and friends, the stigma of mental illness, and a sexual temptation he never saw coming, he is propelled into a world of uncertainty.
When Amy returns home, disillusioned by psychiatry’s limited methods, she turns to self-help organizations and her own determination for healing and growth. Her newfound strength and independence force Nick to question his role as protector, and mark the beginning of a journey of self-discovery that will span the rest of their marriage.
From 1966 to the present, Desert Lily is the bittersweet story of one couple’s resolve to build their marriage into a balanced and joyful partnership.
of hope and
A Publisher's Choice
Soul-Making Literary First Prize Winner
San Francisco Bay Area National League of American Pen Women.
Poignant images suggest the stories of Nick and Amy Demetriou.
Nick and Amy's stories are hinted in the title, the haunting picture of a desert lily on the cover, and the opening line when Nick Demetriou says:
"Amy stumbles. I catch her arm and nearly fall with her."
What is a desert lily?
Like all lilies, a desert lily has a season to flower and a period of dormancy when it withdraws into an onion-like bulb to remain buried until reawakening in another season.
But the desert lily is unique. To withstand the harsh environment, the bulb becomes buried under as much as two feet of sand and sometimes waits as long as twenty years before re-emerging.
Imagine you've fallen deeply in love with a desert lily. Imagine your sadness as you watch it fade, wither and retreat into the soil. Imagine your anticipation as you await the return of the flower you adore so much that you believe you can't live without her.
Imagine, now, that you are the lily. To protect yourself, you hide deep in the sand, but your fear is so great that you sink deeper and deeper until you've
lost all hope of ever blooming again.
See the Author Peter Pascaris
Speaking on Mental Health Topics
101 Mistakes I Made as the Husband of a Patient ...
and what I did to correct them.
from the perspective of a Relative of a Patient
Contact Him at firstname.lastname@example.org