Harry Mark Petrakis
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“In an unrehearsed, around-the-fire sense, Petrakis is a storyteller, concerned not with developing character or reproducing human speech, but with the tale and its moral resonance. These 37 stories, six of which are published for the first time, concern Greek grocers, tavern-keepers and shoemakers, rough men like the father in "Dark Eye." Sodden with the wine called mastiha, he is unable to hold a job or deal decently with his gentle wife, but he fiercely guards his skill as a puppet-master, traditionally passed from father to son, yet in this new country doomed to die when he does. Lightening the burden of sadness carried by most of these tales, farces like "The Wooing of Ariadne," an unabashed reworking of The Taming of the Shrew and "The Journal of a Wife Beater" satirize their protagonists' raucous machismo. But the author makes it clear that Greek men, in general, hide their fragile spirits beneath surface swagger, as depicted in "The Bastards of Thanos," in which a dying poet is confronted by the son of one of his reckless couplings. Blunt and inelegant though the style, the bitter honesty and profound empathy that pervade these stories bring a people and a place into memorable focus.” (Publisher’s Weekly)