The Classic Novel, International Sensation, And Inspiration For The Film Starring Anthony Quinn Explores The Struggle Between The Aesthetic And The Rational, The Inner Life And The Life Of The MindThe Classic Novel Zorba The Greek Is The Story Of Two Men, Their Incredible Friendship, And The Importance Of Living Life To The Fullest Zorba, A Greek Working Man, Is A Larger Than Life Character, Energetic And Unpredictable He Accompanies The Unnamed Narrator To Crete To Work In The Narrator S Lignite Mine, And The Pair Develops A Singular Relationship The Two Men Couldn T Be Further Apart The Narrator Is Cerebral, Modest, And Reserved Zorba Is Unfettered, Spirited, And Beyond The Reins Of Civility Over The Course Of Their Journey, He Becomes The Narrator S Greatest Friend And Inspiration And Helps Him To Appreciate The Joy Of LivingZorba Has Been Acclaimed As One Of The Most Remarkable Figures In Literature He Is A Character In The Great Tradition Of Sinbad The Sailor, Falstaff, And Sancho Panza He Responds To All That Life Offers Him With Passion, Whether He S Supervising Laborers At A Mine, Confronting Mad Monks In A Mountain Monastery, Embellishing The Tales Of His Past Adventures, Or Making Love Zorba The Greek Explores The Beauty And Pain Of Existence, Inviting Readers To Reevaluate The Most Important Aspects Of Their Lives And Live To The Fullest . V os kai Polite a tou Al x Zorb Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek, is a novel written by the Cretan author Nikos Kazantzakis, first published in 1946 It is the tale of a young Greek intellectual who ventures to escape his bookish life with the aid of the boisterous and mysterious Alexis Zorba The novel was adapted into a successful 1964 film of the same name by Michael Cacoyannis as well as a 1968 musical, Zorba 1980 1347 398 1357 362 1379 362 9647026098 1383 398 1394 407 9789640017890 20 1357 458 1361 1357 1363 1384 519 1377 1387 9789648957150 1357 438 1384 417 9644870424 1389 438 9789644871184 1391 430 9786005791457 1358 I m glad I read this book so that in the future I can tell people just how awful it is.Of course I ve heard of the author s reputation, along with that of the movie version of the book, so I was very eager to read and savor this book to find out exactly how wonderful it really was.Here s my summary privileged, naval gazing student meets presumptuous windbag, believes him to be answer to his navel gazing problems, women are denigrated left and right, reader is left awed at how this ever became popular.Really, it just is astonishingly bad to contemporary sensibilities Maybe when this was first published in 1946 then in English in 1951 2 it was a breath of fresh air narrative, but whatever was hailed as inspiring or positive about the Zorba character has, 65 years later, been lost to time and he s now reduced to a caricature of someone who is so chauvinistic that nothing is redeemable at all, even if one or two of the things he says are aphorism worthy.But the other 99.9% isn t worth anything Want to know what his views on women are They re weak, they don t know anything, they re easily won over if you grab their breasts really , all a woman needs is a man between her legs especially if they re widows , and in fact they re happy and grateful and melt if any man gives them any attention which they should be grateful for because, really, men are doing them a favor And so on For 300 pages.One woman s emotions are played with for the main characters amusement, but that s okay because she s just an old whore who should be happy to have any attention at all since she s just an old, fat lady who s described as such in a hundred different ways, every other adjective involving an animal in some way.Another women is beheaded her HEAD is CUT OFF and thrown into a church courtyard because she basically refused a man s attention and everyone in the town is okay with it because it was the right thing to do The narrator bravely deals with it by saying it was justified since a thousand years ago it was okay, so never mind that it happened just now in front of his eyes The book is just a terrible mess of male centered egocentricity And really, the whole subplot with the Sodomite monk killing another monk and getting away with it is strange since the most intimate scenes and relationships happen between men Was it meant to condemn homosexual relations Was it meant to condemn the religious community for allowing the murder and abuse to occur Are the terrible people who inhabit the village to be exalted or reviled by the reader Is someone really supposed to find Zorba s zeal for life inspiring as long as you forget all the bad stuff he says and does, including raping women.Truly awful. At the time of the First World War around the year 1916, an event occurred in the busy port of Piraeus, Greece quite ordinary, a chance meeting of two utterly different types of men In a grungy sailor s cafe , Alexis Zorba 65, a Greek peasant who s seen it all, done everything imaginable good or evil, chased and caught numerous women, killed some men in and out of war, a boisterous vagabond always seeking pleasure, traveling wherever his heart desires, eating , drinking, all he can get his hands on And a bookish quiet intellectual, a countryman with money, unnamed but Zorba calls him Boss , at 35 looking for something meaningful to do in life, he has a Lignite brown coal mine, on the rather primitive island of Crete, awaiting a ship to take him there obviously based on Nikos Kazantzakis, and his friend, Giorgis Zorbas It doesn t take much persuading by the charismatic Alexis, to be taken on the voyage, besides the Boss needs help, an experienced miner and Zorba has been one , among the countless jobs he s had Crete is beautiful, has unspoiled sandy beaches, attractive white mountainous terrain, fertile green valleys , small rivers and lakes, also plenty of charming churches, and holy monks in monasteries, yet backward customs prevail In the village by the mine, the poor, uneducated, almost starving people there are glad to see the mine reopened, they desperately required employment The gregarious Zorba soon has an ancient, lonely, ailing French woman, Madame Hortense, foreigners are hated here who owns and runs a battered, small inn, fall in love with the always dashing, much married , just once legally though man, he likes the ladies And the intimidating, voluptuous Widow, best looking woman around of course, the villagers hate her too, casting eyes on the Boss, he feels both uneasy and excited The mine is worked hard , vigorous Zorba in command is tireless, driving the workers to dig and find the valuable coal, however after a long effort nothing can change facts, it is an unprofitable enterprise maybe timber will be lucrative.The tense village hides dark violent secrets, the calm a subterfuge, only those who live inside know them The real reason this book is still read and he easily dominates the story, is the passionate Zorba, naturally such a manno I take that back, Zorba is a spirit , a sweeping wind an uncontrollable force, an enthusiastic flow, an enigma not really human, something that is seen but can never be wholly understood, no rules apply, this unearthly being emerges, brings energy to where it is acutely needed, then abruptly vanishesuntil the next timeand for perpetuity I finally read this after it was in my TBR pile for many years I m glad I did as it is a pretty good read I ll structure the review in terms of themes A wealthy young man thirtyish , whom Zorba calls boss, hires Zorba to run his coal mine and tree harvesting business on the Greek island of Crete Zorba not only runs the entire business and the hiring and supervision but even the financing as well as doing physical labor I looked at Zorba in the light of the moon and admired the jauntiness and simplicity with which he adapted himself to the world around him, the way his body and soul formed one harmonious whole, and all things women, bread, water, meat, sleep blended happily with his flesh and became Zorba I had never seen such a friendly accord between a man and the universe He Zorba interrogates himself with the same amazement when he sees a man, a tree in blossom, a glass of cold water Zorba sees everything every day as if for the first time Zorba has traveled all over the world He has a wife and children somewhere As a former soldier, he has killed Turks in Greece and Bulgars in the Balkans Now that he is over 60 his specialty is widows Anywhere he travels he will find a widow who will take him in He is the epitome of a man with a lust for life wine, women, song, dance, hard work The younger man simply reads all day He s an aficionado of Buddhist philosophy and dreams of establishing a community of scholars and artists musicians, poets, painters a commune who will live together, do art and discuss philosophy He and Zorba drink lots of wine and they have a bonfire on the beach almost every night roasting chickens, suckling pigs and chestnuts They eat figs, fruits, onions, honeyed olives Of course Buddhism, the losing of yourself, is the exact opposite world view of Zorba who has such lust for life The main character tells Zorba Buddha is the pure soul which has emptied itself in him is the void, he is the Void Empty your body, empty your spirit, empty your heart he cries Wherever he sets his foot, water no longer flows, no grass can grow, no child be born They constantly discuss their contrasting philosophies but fail to connect them Here s Zorba s take on God God enjoys himself, kills, commits injustice, makes love, works, likes impossible things, just the same as I do He eats what he pleases takes the woman he chooses If she s a good woman they say God has taken her If she s a harlot, they say The devil s carried her off But, boss, I ve said so before, and I say it again, God and the devil are one and the same thing Misogyny is a main theme Women are ignorant and a product of the devil Period But the men can t live without them, so what can they do There s a bit of homoeroticism in all this At the start we learn of the lifelong bond the young man has with a good male friend who is in Africa They swear love to each other and have an agreement that they will call out telepathically to each other when one dies The young man and Zorba talk of love and embrace, and Zorba s role is almost that of a traditional wife Dance for me Zorba play the santuri for me Zorba And when Zorba s widow is not cooking, Zorba barbeques food on the beach and serves the wine The young man does have a one night stand with a beautiful widow Other than all the misogyny, the village seems idyllic But toward the middle and end of the book there s a twist and we see a harsher evil aspect of the village view spoiler There s a murder at the monastery involving the killing of a gay monk When Zorba s widow friend gets ill and dies the people even the paid old women mourners , start raiding the belongings of her house while she is still suffering on the bed When a young man falls in love with the young widow the same one the main character had the affair with , and she refuses his advances, the young man kills himself The villagers blame the widow and a relative of the young man decapitates her Others in the village and whatever the law is take no interest in the murder hide spoiler . I read Zorba the Greek, originally titled Alexis Zorba, by Nikos Kazantzakis as part of my 2017 classic bingo challenge Considered the 20th century Greek novel most known to American audiences, Zorba chronicles the lives of two unlikely friends as they attempt to build a mining empire in Crete Later a movie starring Anthony Quinn, Zorba is an impassioned novel detailing Greek culture while also going in depth into the souls of two complex men Our narrator first meets Zorba at a tavern in Piraeus Although he has traveled all over Europe and is about to embark for Crete to begin a mining expedition there, he is known by sailors as a book worm While his miners toil, the narrator is content pouring over a manuscript or reading the teachings of the Buddha At first glance it is apparent that he is not well versed in the ways of the world, and, amidst the teasing of his companions, Zorba appears and insists on leading the team of miners The two set sail for Crete, and both an adventure and deep friendship commence While copper mining is the premise for this Greek classic, the novel centers on the title character Zorba as he pours out his soul to the narrator The two share a meager hut by the beach, and nightly Zorba cooks simple yet hearty meals of fish stew, meat chops, bread, and wine Over food, dance, music, and a Greek guitar called the santuri, Zorba regales his friend in the ways of the world He spins captivating yarns about his travels throughout Eurasia and attempts to bring his friend away from books and into the world In addition to Zorba s pearls of wisdom, we meet the characters in this remote Cretan village and learn of their way of life National pride runs high at a time when Crete was a separate nation from Greece, and each country in Macedonia held distrust of her neighbor Even though Zorba s presence fills a room, villagers are skeptical of him at first because he is Greek, not Cretan Thus, the miners live away from the village, slowly building rapport with the town elders, all the while regaling each other with the stories of their travels Although slow moving at times, I enjoyed learning about early 20th century Greek culture and customs Centered around a Greek Orthodox calendar, the monastery and church as well as the protagonists beliefs play a large role in the novel We are regaled with traditional food, dances, and festivals that may not be well known outside of the Mediterranean Zorba, even though he is worldly, still appears to be a religious person, and dreams of opening his own monastery together with the narrator Although he attempts to conquer every woman he encounters including the town siren Dame Hortense, with whom he shares a special relationship, Zorba does not miss church on important festivals, making his a life of contradictions Despite his and others treatment of women, I viewed this as normal of the time and place and allowed myself to be swept up in Zorba s tales Zorba the Greek merited inclusion on the Boklubben of Norway one hundred classic book list Sad and wistful at times, it is a beautiful story of a man who is larger than life and an era gone by The narrator, who appears to be a fictional character based on Kazantzakis own life, weaves a poignant tale of his and Zorba s lives together as they attempt to conquer Crete Alexis Zorba appeared as a man larger than life and transported me to another era where time slows down, and people slowly pass time by strumming the santuri while sipping wine and eating halvah I thoroughly enjoyed reading this Greek classic, and rate it a full, bright 5 stars. .
was a prolific Greek writer, whose works include essays, novels, poems, tragedies, travel books, and translations of such classics as Dante s The Divine Comedy and J.W von Goethe s Faust Like his hero, Odysseus, Kazantzakis lived most of his artistic life outside Greece except for the years of World War II I am a mariner of Odysseus with heart of fire but with mind ruthless and clear, Kazantzakis wrote in TODA RABA 1934 Several of the author s novels deal with the history and culture of his own country, and the mystical relationship between man and God In 1957 he lost the Nobel Prize by a single vote to the French writer Albert Camus.
- 335 pages
- Βίος και πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζορμπά
- Nikos Kazantzakis
- 21 November 2017 Nikos Kazantzakis