Peter's Reviews > A Petrakis Reader
A Petrakis Reader
May 03, 2014
A simply beautiful collection of short stories from Petrakis. Largely set in Chicago amongst blue-collar Greek-American immigrants, Petrakis' stories range from sorrowful to bittersweet to laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes even within the same story. He shows a particular fondness for unrequited love and guilt-filled grief, but writes eloquently without even becoming maudlin or overwrought. And in a unique twist that I can't remember ever seeing elsewhere, he writes a brief preface to each story, explaining the story's origins or how he felt about the story at the time of the collection's publication (he even frankly admits to being underwhelmed by one or two of them). As a lifelong resident of the Chicago area, I had long heard of Petrakis but somehow this is the first time I've ever read anything of his; this book could not have been a more perfect introduction for me. This book was a wonderful surprise, and also bittersweet, for though Petrakis is still alive (he turns 92 in June) he doesn't seem to be publishing any longer. I'll have to content myself with his back catalog (which fortunately is extensive - he's published over 20 books, including 11 novels) and will eagerly be hunting for his novels Twilight of the Ice (2003) and A Dream of Kings (1966).
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