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My Greek Books: The Library of Harry Mark Petrakis

by Maria A. Karamitsos   ·  5 months ago   ·  
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This month. My Greek Books salutes Harry Mark Petrakis. Keep reading for my humble tribute to the late Greek-American author.

My Greek Books

Greek-American Author Harry Mark Petrakis has passed on, but he left an enduring legacy. His books brought Greek-Americans to the mainstream. Gave us a voice. His stories were quintessential Chicago. I’ve often waxed poetic about my literary idol. I’m blessed to have communicated with him. I’ll miss his emails. I can still hear his voice on the other end of the phone. Did I look up to this man? Absolutely. Beyond his subject matter, his rich words are a literary treasure trove for any writer and reader. His stories touched the heart and left an indelible mark. He’ll never be forgotten.

Harry Mark Petrakis

I thought it a good time to pay a humble tribute to the late author. I tried to find all the book reviews, all the interviews, and they seem to be scattered among devices. And the earliest ones were in print only. Since the early 2000s, I’d written about the author for several publications, including The Greek Star newspaper, The National Herald, GreekReporter, and later for my own WindyCity Greek magazine.

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Harry Mark Petrakis’ Library

Petrakis published about 24 books and countless short stories. Here’s a list of his books:

1959: Lion at My Heart (Boston, Little, Brown)

1963: The Odyssey of Kostas Volakis (David McKay Company)

1965: Pericles on 31st Street (Quadrangle Books)

1965: The Founder’s Touch: the life of Paul Galvin of Motorola (McGraw-Hill)

1966:  A Dream of Kings (David McKay Company)

1969: The Waves of Night, and Other Stories (David McKay Company)

1970: Stelmark: A Family Recollection (David McKay Company)

1970 & 1983: Reflections: A Writer’s Life, A Writer’s Work (Lake View Press)

1973: In the Land of Morning (David McKay Company)

1976: The Hour of the Bell (Doubleday)

1978: A Petrakis Reader (Doubleday)

1979: Nick the Greek (Doubleday)

1983: Days of Vengeance (Doubleday)

1987: Collected Stories (Lake View Press)

1990: Ghost of the Sun (St. Martin’s Press)

1998: Henry Crown: the life and times of the Colonel Co-authored with David B. Weber (Henry Crown & Company)

1999: Tales of the Heart: Dreams and Memories of a Lifetime (Ivan R. Dee)

2003: Twilight of the Ice (Southern Illinois University Press)

2003: Reach Out: The Story of Motorola and Its People (Quebecor World/Kingsport)

2004: The Orchards of Ithaca (Southern Illinois University Press)

2008: The Shepherds of Shadows– A sequel to The Hour of the Bell (Southern Illinois University Press)

2007: Legends of Glory and Other Stories (Southern Illinois University Press)

2010: Cavafy’s Stone and other village tales (Wicker Park Press)

2012: Journal of a Novel (Dunelnd Books)

2014: Song of My Life (University of South Carolina Press)

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Petrakis stories in the movies

A Dream of Kings was not only was a New York Times Bestseller, but it was made into a movie in 1969, starring Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas. In a 2010 interview, I asked Petrakis about it. He said the lead character Matsoukas, “was one of my favorites. I revisited him in the sequel, Ghost of the Sun. Quinn loved it and tried for two years to get it produced, but it never materialized.”

My collection of Petrakis books.

First published work

Among his most famous works is his first published short story, “Pericles on 31st Street.” I asked him about this in a long-ago interview. Here’s what he had to say.

“After many years of trials and tribulations, in 1957, the short story “Pericles on 31st Street” appeared in Atlantic Monthly. Back then I was selling real estate; things were tough. I got a note that they were buying ’Pericles’. There was a furry of excitement. I remember I sat down and began to cry—for so many things—for writing, for more. My father had died; he had great faith that this would happen, but he wasn’t there to see it. After many years of sacrifice, it was finally happening.”

~ Harry Mark Petrakis, 2010

This story launched an amazing career and made him one of Chicago’s best-known authors.

Maria A. Karamitsos is an Amazon affiliate. As an Amazon associate, she earns money from qualifying purchases. By clicking through the links, when you make a purchase, she will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. It helps to support her writerly endeavors Thank you!

Dive in

Find Harry Mark Petrakis books at Amazon and Bookshop.

He left this earth on February 2, 2021 but left a lasting imprint on this earth. May his memory be eternal.

Read more

REVIEW: Petrakis’ Song of My Life (WindyCity Greek, 2015)

In the Land of Morning (My Greek Books-January 2021)

Maria A. Karamitsos

Maria has been a positive voice in Greek media since 2002. She was the Founder, Publisher, & Editor of WindyCity Greek magazine. For 10 years, she served as the Associate Editor & Senior Writer for The Greek Star newspaper. Her work has been published in GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women.Who.Write, Neo magazine, KPHTH magazine, XPAT ATHENS, and more. Maria has contributed to three books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes; The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook; and the inaugural Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal. She's working on her 1st novel.

2 Comments

  1. Elaine Drikakis

    Bravo Maria! Keep doing what you do!!! We are so fortunate/blessed to have you in our community!
    XO Elaine Drikakis

    1. Thanks Elaine! Stay well.

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