Books: Homer in Chicago

A DREAM OF KINGS by Harry Mark Petrakis. 180 pages. David McKay. $4.50.

John Doe, 47, a tenement-dwelling Midwesterner in hock to the corner delicatessen, pursues solvency at the horse parlor and the poker table. His purpose is exemplary: he wants to move his seven-year-old son, dying of epilepsy, to a desert climate. A soft-hearted stud dealer pledges the necessary pot but dies before delivering. Doe next touches a baker's doughy widow, to whom he has previously applied for favors of another order; she indignantly draws the line at moneylending. Eventually, Doe's own wife stakes him, unsolicited. And off he flies with...

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