- Hardcover: 184 pages
- Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (May 20, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0809325144
- ISBN-13: 978-0809325146
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,511,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Twilight of the Ice Hardcover – May 20, 2003
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Not only does veteran novelist Petrakis take the reader back to Chicago circa 1950, when muscled, unexpectedly graceful, and stout-hearted "icemen" risked limb and life to pack railroad cars with ice to keep produce fresh, he also peels back fiction to its essentials, building brick-solid prose out of realistic and humble details. Mike Zervakis, a tough Greek immigrant from Crete, transformed the iceman's hard and dangerous labor into an art form, even a spiritual calling, and now he's anxious to pass on his wisdom to an equally committed disciple. But the boss, Earl, is mean and angry, and the younger men don't have any sense of pride in their work. As Petrakis wheels from Mike and his memories of his failed marriage and bid for future happiness with the prostitute he loves to Earl and his tragic predicament as the husband of a schizophrenic to the new dispatcher, a slowly recovering alcoholic, he illuminates a world of hurt and suffering in which nobility like Mike's is all too rare, as is fiction as satisfying as this salt-of-the-earth saga. Donna Seaman
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“[D]istinguished Chicago novelist Harry Mark Petrakis is still going strong. His ninth novel and eighteenth book, Twilight of the Ice, is full of the brawny, brightly drawn ethnic characters that brought him international fame for Pericles on 31st Street (1965) and A Dream of Kings (1966), both National Book Award finalists. . . .With his rugged realist’s eye, Petrakis captures a colorful period and place once well known to Chicagoans but now almost forgotten.”
“[A] revealing tale about a time in Chicago, the early 1950s, when the railroad-car ice industry faced competition from new, refrigerated rail cars. . . . Throughout the story, Chicago readers will encounter streets and neighborhoods they recognize. Characters cross Roosevelt Road or turn onto Maxwell Street. But they do not shop in upscale stores. In Petrakis’ novel, this is a city of ethnic groceries and local restaurants—and now-long-gone icemen.”—Chicago Tribune
“In this short work, Petrakis creates many strong characters while deftly exploring multiple themes such as ethnic conflict, generational differences, family difficulties, and the battle with addiction in what would take other writers three times the space. Highly recommended.”—Library Journal
“Not only does veteran novelist Petrakis take the reader back to Chicago circa 1950, when muscled, unexpectedly graceful, and stout-hearted ‘icemen’ risked limb and life to pack railroad cars with ice to keep produce fresh, he also peels back fiction to its essentials, building brick-solid prose out of realistic and humble details.”—Booklist