National Hellenic Museum’s (NHM) virtual book club will be discussing on Thursday, January 26, the classic American novel from acclaimed Chicago storyteller Harry Mark Petrakis “A Dream of Kings”.
Facilitated by NHM’s Resident Scholar Dr. Katherine Kelaidis, each month the NHM Virtual Book Club chooses a book that is either inspired by the Hellenic legacy or by a Greek American author (and sometimes both). Then book enthusiasts gather to discuss the book on Zoom.
Book Club is free to join and meets on the third Thursday of each month at 7 PM CST.
“A Dream of Kings” was a finalist for the National Book Award in its original edition first published in 1966.
At the heart of the book is Leonidas Matsoukas, operator of the Pindar Counseling Service (“Solutions provided for all problems of life and love”), proponent of wildly creative get-rich-quick schemes, passionately loving husband and father, equally ardent lover of the beautiful bakeshop proprietor Anthoula, incurable gambler, and incorrigible fighter.
Matsoukas is a fiercely proud Greek immigrant with a zest for the temptations of his new home on Halsted Street in 1960s Chicago. He dreams of conquering the city, but the tragic illness of his young son, Stavros, pits him against the larger opponent of fate.
By turns comic and heartbreaking, A Dream of Kings combines the power of classical myth—a man raging against the gods—with the vitality, emotion, and joyous ebb and flow of our all-too-human lives.
“The gods have chosen you for eternal disaster,” Matsoukas’s friend Cicero tells him, “but you take every act that has been prepared for your punishment and turn it into some kind of triumph.”
A Dream of Kings was a New York Times best-seller
A Dream of Kings was a New York Times best-seller, translated into twelve languages, and made into a 1969 feature film starring Anthony Quinn and Irene Papas. This new edition includes a foreword from Dan Georgakas, retired director of the Greek American Studies Project at the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College–CUNY and editor of the Journal of Hellenic Diaspora.
In addition to two National Book Award nominations, Harry Mark Petrakis has been honored with the O. Henry Award, the Chicago Public Library’s Carl Sandburg Award, and awards from the Friends of American Writers, Friends of Literature, and the Society of Midland Authors.
He has held teaching appointments at Ohio University as McGuffy Visiting Lecturer and at San Francisco State University as Kazantzakis Professor in Modern Greek Studies.
His numerous books include, most recently, the novel The Shepherds of Shadow, a daily record of the joy and anguish of writing in Journal of a Novel, and his third memoir, Song of My Life (published by the University of South Carolina Press).
Click here to see all of NHM’s upcoming book selections
You can support NHM by purchasing A Dream of Kings. When you buy your copy through this link, a portion of the proceeds will go to NHM.
NHM raised over one million for Greek history, art and culture
The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) raised over one million dollars in September at its 2022 Gala in support of its mission to share Greek history, art, culture, and the Greek- American story.
NHM Chairman John P. Calamos, Sr. and Gala Chairman John S. Koudounis were joined by more than 650 civic and cultural leaders and philhellenes from across the country at the festive black-tie optional event to celebrate the museum’s grand reopening this month.