When Harry Mark Petrakis' autobiography of his early years, Stelmark, first appeared in print, the New York Times reviewer, Thomas Losk, hailed it as 'pungent and heartwarming, combining concrete particulars with the spiritual values they embody.'' The book recounts Petrakis' coming of age in Chicago during the Depression, the youngest son in the large family of a Greek Orthodox priest who had emigrated from Crete to America. He finds his identity as a writer among the immigrants of the close-knit Greek community and takes honest measure of his frailties and failings.
Stelmark: A Family Recollection is a celebration of family life as few of us know it today: joyous, triumphant, often wildly humorous, often starkly dramatic, rich with love, margined by a code of duty and respect. It is an elegy to growing up as Harry Mark Petrakis did — a first-generation American in a tightly knit and colorful community.