In this warmhearted and luminous collection of his non-fiction writings, Harry Mark Petrakis carries his readers on an odyssey that spans a lifetime. "I hold a browned photograph of my parents and older brothers and sisters taken shortly before they emigrated to America from the island of Crete in 1916," Mr. Petrakis writes. "In the seventy years that have passed since then, the countenances in the portrait have remained suspended in time. . . . Each time I look at it I am reminded that all of life is a mystery that lies not as much in the end as in the beginning." In Tales of the Heart, Mr. Petrakis - whose books have twice been short-listed for the National Book Award - describes people and landscapes and the dreams and memories that reveal the essence of our lives. He begins in the intimate province of the family, with episodes from childhood, young love, and early marriage; the experience of raising children; the aging and death of parents. As life expands outward, Mr. Petrakis's darker sketches tell of gambling obsessions and life in the streets and the risk of death. In reports of travels, he turns a sharp eye on England, the Middle East, and his Greek homeland. Whether he is recalling the world of his family or the world grown large, he writes with a novelist's eye and a poet's language. "If I get all the ingredients there and I am successful in my task, both die reader and I will share love - a love of books and a love of life," Mr. Petrakis writes. Tales of the Heart sustains his position as one of our finest, most affecting authors.