The Books of Harry Mark Petrakis


Harry Mark Petrakis

December 2010
Wicker Park Press Books, cloth,
ISBN 978-0-9789676-5-9, $24.95
234 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

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Norbert Blei on Cavafy's Stone

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Praise for Cavafy's Stone:

"Using a single, nearly contemporary, Greek village as a setting with its Orthodox priest as a human touchstone, Petrakis has created a poignant suite of tales exploring kinship, mortality, sexuality, violence, jealousy and betrayal. Emotionally true with a hard, grounded wisdom, these masterful, large-hearted explorations retain a connection with both magic and mystery; and they evoke nostalgia for a life that even in Greece is passing."
New City Lit (Read More)

Tragic, moving, and poetic tales from a modern Greek village from one of America’s leading literary voices

In its play of voices reminiscent of the Winesburg, Ohio of Sherwood Anderson, this sequence of tales from a Greek village is at once tragic, moving, and poetic. The linked stories in which the inhabitants of the village of Fanaron in central Greece spin their tangled tales of love, hate, vengeance and despair create a microcosm of the world.

The old village priest has his life impacted by the vision of a lovely young tourist bathing naked in a mountain stream; a homosexual schoolteacher trapped in the rigid mores of the village finds comfort in a small stone that once belonged to the Alexandrian poet Cavafy; a girl marries the handsomest man in the village only to discover he is a brutal wife-beater; two sisters compete for the love of the same man with tragic consequences; a father is tormented by aberrant feelings toward his young daughter; a young woman discovers her grandmother’s dark secret from the time of the German occupation In World War II ; a single act of infidelity causes a farmer a lifetime of anguish; an immigrant who found wealth in the U.S. returns to the village in a sporty Cadillac that cannot fit in its narrow village streets.

The storytelling craft of Harry Mark Petrakis, praised by writers such as Elie Wiesel, Kurt Vonnegut and Isaac Bashevis Singer, is poignantly and skillfully evidenced in these tales taking place in a land where three of the world’s four great tragedians once wrote their plays.

Harry Mark Petrakis is the author of twenty-two books, including A Dream of Kings, which was made into a major motion picture. He has held appointments at Ohio University as McGuffy Visiting Lecturer and at San Francisco State University as Kazantzakis Professor in Modern Greek Studies. He was twice nominated for the National Book Award in Fiction, won the O. Henry Award, and received awards from Friends of American Writers, Friends of Literature, and the Society of Midland Authors.

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