All of this can get very funny. But it is a sign of Harry Mark Petrakis's abilities that the novel doesn't end up being simply a humorous book. Perhaps he is saved by the tradition of Chicago realism. Even when things get craziest, the novelist always connects them to real places, real events, or real people (Chicago sports stars, politicians, and journalists all appear in the book). And Petrakis is willing to risk a lyrical flight or two. Here he describes the memory of an Orthodox Easter service:
At the stroke of midnight, the great vaulted church was hurled into darkness. Into that raven-winged blackness, a single lighted candle would be brought from the sanctuary, and from that solitary flame, hundreds of candles would flare into light. Orestes felt his heart bursting with the glow of that sacred illumination.