LION AT MY HEART by Harry Mark Petrakis


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This is a terribly earnest but painfully obvious first novel which records the process of growing up and the inevitable clash and failure of understanding between the generations. In this particular case the struggle is heightened by the further complications of conflicting customs -- the old world arrayed in tradition versus the formlessness of the new. It is this last element which lends the novel its pathetically lean interest. Tony Varinakis, the narrator, is a junior in college at the story's opening. His father Angelo, is a steel worker, proud of his strength and his descent from the sons of Pericles. Angelo's devotion to his sons, Tony and Mike, was intensified by the death of the boys' mother -- he is determined to make a match for them within the Greek community. Mike's sudden marriage to an Irish girl embitters the old man who disowns his son, desperately places his hopes in Tony who becomes the bridge between Mike and Angelo because he can see both sides. Tony's engagement and subsequent marriage to Marika provides an ideal compromise: he both continues and frees himself of tradition. Finally it is the elders, who failing to accommodate themselves to change, fall apart.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1959
Publisher: Little, Brown-A.M.P.