Full of life, larger than life, Leonidas Matsoukas is a Homeric primitive. He's been in the U.S. (he'd planned to subdue) for twelve years; he operates a counseling service equal to any situation; he plays the horses or poker; he lusts for ample Anthoula in the bakery across the street; he lives with a raging, roaring intensity, while he broods over, denies and defies the fate which will overtake his small defective son, Stavros. To Matsoukas, death can only be equated with darkness. And he is sure that if he can take Stavros back to Greece, in the sun, that he will live. Gicero, the dealer, is about to give him the money when he has a stroke; Matsoukas appeals to Anthoula, whom he has bedded like a bull, and she throws him out; he tries to cheat at cards and is caught; and he returns home to his wife, a beaten, almost broken man, and she.... Petrakis' elemental talent received particular notice when his short story collection, Pericles on 31st Street (1965), became an N.B.A. contender; it is, like Matsoukas, instinctually, indomitably alive. A taste, perhaps to be acquired, but not overlooked.