Author(s): Nikos KazantzakisDownload
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 mind.The 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 living.Zorba 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.
Some Reviews: 3401 in Goodreads.com
This is the book. The best book for me. I don’t say it’s the best book for everyone. But for me, it is my mainstay, my main man, my mainsail. Kazantzakis has made a work of stunning genius. Simple. Funny. And true as Zorba. I first read this book when I had leukemia and was being poisoned by chemo for one solid week–24 hours a day of it for one week, and this book kept me sane and my heart pure.
It’s about life. How does one live it. How does one deal with the vicissitudes of it. The tragedies. the failures. Does one stand on the sidelines of life and never jump in? does one fear getting married or fear having children or fear doing any activity that could fail or come to naught? Zorba tells us what to do. And in the end, when the whole bloody mess comes falling down around us, and all our plans and schemes are for naught, what do you do? Dance. Dance as hard and as wild as you can. Spit and fume and sing and smash your heels into the dirt. And laugh at it all. the absurdity of worry and wondering. The joy of just “being” and “doing”.
This book is a philosophy and a trip back into time. When the mechanistic and material world had not such a hold on our Western minds. When things were simple. If a beautiful woman wants you, you go to her. You go to her. You! Go….. to her! It is an insult to life and the gods not to.
And see the movie. It is truly one of the few movies that captures a novel precisely. And Anthony Quinn will be remembered through the ages for his Zorba. when you and I are dust, they who will be the living will still be watching him dance.
OK, people, I’m officially in tears. When you slowly savor a book like this for a month as I have, the characters’ fates mean something to you. Pound for pound, sentence for sentence, word for word, I’ve not read a more profound book in all my days, I think. The sentences sing and pulse and it’s bright and rich and life affirming with robust characters and a real journey of discovery. This one is now near the top of my favorite books list. Countless times I wanted to mark a nugget of wisdom for later reference, but instead opted to continue wending my way through. There will be time for marking, some day. I adopted Zorba’s philosophy of life, I chose to live it rather than fixate on categorizing or trying to contain what I was reading in some mathematic way. This book addresses life and its mysteries and how we can chose to live it. That’s all I’m going to say. It is one of the masterpieces of world literature. ‘Nuff said.
Kala, brilliant. To say i love this book is an understatement. This book opened my eyes, my ears, my throat, my lungs, made me want to scream, dance and cry. Its a meditation on how to live a different kind of life, a life of spirit. Read the book, watch the movie, be inspired to live. Ahhhh!!!!
Alexis Zorba: Damn it boss, I like you too much not to say it. You’ve got everything except one thing: madness! A man needs a little madness, or else…
Basil: Or else?
Alexis Zorba: …he never dares cut the rope and be free.
“The Life and Deeds of Alexis Zorba” (as it was originally titled in Greek) does not follow the form of a conventional novel. The plot is simplistic: it is the story of a young idealistic scholar and his friend, cook, and foreman Alexis Zorbas who go to Crete to embark on a lignite mining scheme. The content, however, is at once a compelling snapshot of early 20th-century life in Greece and a profound Socratic discourse on the meaning of love, life, and living. “Zorba” requires patience–one must understand that its progression resembles an afternoon at a Cretan taverna more than a walk down 5th avenue–but when read with care, it will change your life.
“Boss, everything’s simple in the world. How many times must I tell you? So don’t go and complicate things!”
One part travel guide to preWWII Crete, Zorba the Greek is a beautifully crafted and engaging story about the relationships between a man, his mentor, and his spirituality. The story is told in the first person by an unnamed and introverted narrator. He is an individual who aspires to be more, as a writer, as an entrepreneur, and as a man. All of his years have been spent in study, appreciating other artist’s work, developing the mind, and avoiding any exploration of the ways of the heart. He wants to grow in any or all these directions, but his confidence is weak.
Enter Alexis Zorba, an unskilled laborer hired by the narrator to work in his lignite mine (coal), and a man who has devoted his life to the ardent pursuit of one dream after another. Zorba is full of stories and music, joys and sorrows. First an employee, he quickly rises to the status of confidant, friend, and foreman of the mine. For the narrator, it is an increasingly dependent relationship. In response Zorba raises the ante, patiently encouraging, cajoling, and directing his friend the narrator to open his heart and pursue a sexual relationship with the alluring village widow. As the story unfolds the narrator falls in love but, loses the prize.
Recovering from his defeat, Zorba continues to rise in the esteem of the narrator, from mentor to spiritual guide. They continue to live in the village, work the mine, and even expand their business enterprise, only to fail once again and in spectacular fashion. It is a story full of joy, mirth, and sadness, with wonderful insights into being who you are and then becoming more.
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