Cover image for Tales of the heart : dreams and memories of a lifetime
Tales of the heart : dreams and memories of a lifetime
Petrakis, Harry Mark.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 239 pages ; 23 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3566.E78 Z474 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In this warmhearted and luminous collection of his nonfiction writings, Harry Mark Petrakis carries his readers on an odyssey that spans a lifetime. He begins in the intimate province of the family, with memories of childhood, young love, and early marriage; the experience of raising children; the aging and death of parents. Darker sketches tell of gambling obsessions and life in the streets and the risk of death. In reports on travels, Mr. Petrakis turns a sharp eye on England, the Middle East, and his Greek homeland. Whether he is recalling the world of his family or the world grown large, he writes with a novelist's eye and a poet's language. Readers of Mr. Petrakis's work over the years know they will not only see the landscape and the people but come away with a greater understanding of how dreams and memories play a revelatory role in our lives. Kurt Vonnegut has said of Mr. Petrakis's fiction: "I have often thought what a wonderful basketball team could be formed from Petrakis's characters. Every one of them is at least 14 feet tall." And John Cheever wrote: "I've always thought Harry Mark Petrakis to be a leading American novelist." Tales of the Heart sustains his position as one of our finest, most affecting authors.

Author Notes

Twice shortlisted for the National Book Award, Harry Mark Petrakis has written affectionately of the Greek-American experience for almost forty years. His celebrated novels and short-story collections include A Dream of Kings, Lion at my Heart, Pericles on 31st Street, The Hour of the Bell, and Ghost of the Sun. He lives and writes in Chesterton, Indiana, outside of Chicago.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Acclaimed novelist and short-story writer Petrakis is known for delving into nonfiction as well, with biographies, an earlier memoir (Stelmark, 1970), and thought-provoking essays that have provided the writer's fans with a satisfying oeuvre embodying a memorable humanity. Set forth in essay form, this latest effort presents reminiscences spanning a vivid lifetime of experiences. Bursting with a life force that fans of the celebrated Greek American author will doubtless savor, his tales are arranged in sections entitled "Family," "Community," and "World." Reassuring and warmly engaging, the masterful storyteller invites readers to accompany him on a fascinating journey traversing decades of questing and promise. A book certain to be asked for by those who cherish the work of an exceptional man of letters. --Alice Joyce

Library Journal Review

Novelist Petrakis, a National Book Award finalist for A Dream of Kings (LJ 7/66), continues the chronicle of his life begun with Stelmark (LJ 10/15/70) and Reflections (1983). Here, rather than setting down a conventional autobiography, he focuses on a series of events and people who shaped him as a man and as a writer. The book is divided into three parts: family, community, and the world. In various chapters, a single action (viewing a photograph, a chance encounter, a particular sight or scent) triggers a memory. Through specific events in the life of an American writer of Greek heritage living in Chicago, the reader is reminded of his or her own memories of family, school friends, neighborhood life, or travel. This touching, warmhearted, and life-enhancing collection of essays belongs in all public and undergraduate libraries.ÄMorris Hounion, New York City Technical Coll. Lib., Brooklyn (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.