DAYS OF VENGEANCE by Harry Mark Petrakis


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In many ways quite similar to Garcia Marquez's recent Chronicle of a Death Foretold, this relatively strong new novel by veteran Petrakis is likewise a tale of historical determinism--framed by a constellation of implacable destinies. Before leaving his native Crete for turn-of-the-century America, a young man named Aleko Manousakis is murdered by two brothers--Stellios and Mitsos--whose sister supposedly suffered breachof-promise from Aleko. (The accusation is actually false.) The murder prompts the flight of Stellios and Mitsos to America; but Aleko's younger brother Manolis--heretofore satisifed to stay in Greece--follows, determined to revenge his brother's murder with blood. . . at any cost. And, on the ship to America, Manolis meets the family of Orthodox priest Father Basil, who will serve as the unwitting fulcrum for this transplanted feud: the priest, his wife, and especially his two daughters come to entwine with both Manolis and Stellios, who eventually becomes an IWW organizer in Utah--a veritable folk hero standing up for the workers, bearing terrible violence (he's almost hanged by the company police), living an inspiring virtue. But, even though Stellios has changed, and though Manolis has lost the urge to revenge. . . the fateful vengeance still demands completion. Petrakis' plotting is sturdy but predictable; his characters are more or less stock figures. Still, if less artful than the Garcia Marquez telling, the basic tale of inevitable violence here does generate a steady modicum. of involvement (if no excitement)--enlivened by Petrakis' sketches of brutally underpaid Greek-American laborers in Chicago (restaurants) and Utah (mines, railroads).

Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 1983
Publisher: Doubleday