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Three generations of the Demas family face the ups and downs of the twentieth century after their fathers leave the coal mines that drew them from Greece to America, become wool growers and small businessmen, and Americanize their Demopoulos name. As the years pass, the family accumulates untidy lives and tragedies. Parents seek to keep their children tightly bound by old-country customs, to arrange marriages, and to foist their views of women's inferiority on their daughters. Lia Papastamos in particular, child of a forced marriage between her Greek father and Amerikanidha mother, pulls away from the stifling burden of family tradition and interference, but she and her husband must contend with the decline that time, synthetics, and changing tastes bring to a once-thriving sheep business.
Helen Papanikolas was one of Utah's most revered authors. Known and respected nationally and internationally as the preeminent narrator of the Greek American experience, appreciated in Utah particularly for her documentation of our multicultural history, she is widely admired as well for her storytelling through fiction and memoirs. Rain in the Valley, her last book, is a culmination. In a narrative rich with life, insight, and experience she portrays the generations of a Greek-American family. Their story is rooted in sheepherding, set primarily in Helper, Utah, and shaped by the changes that the twentieth century brings to them.
Helen Papanikolas is widely known as the preeminent narrator of the Greek American experience. Her ýmonumental contributionsý were honored in 2003 with a special issue of the Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora. Those contributions include Greek and multicultural histories, folklore studies, memoirs, and several works of fiction, including The Time of the Little Black Bird; The Apple Falls from the Apple Tree: Stories; and Small Bird, Tell Me: Stories of Greek Immigrants in Utah. Rain in the Valley was the last work she completed before her death in late 2004.
Utah State University Press
Papanikolas, Helen, "Rain in the Valley" (2005). All USU Press Publications. 86.