Title: Zorba the Greek
Author: Nikos Kazantzkis
Date Finished: Nov 26, 2008 #67
Published: 1946 Pages: 311
First of all, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I hope everyone is well and stuffed to the brim with delicious food.
Zorba the Greek is another one of those books that has been lurking on the shelf for years and years. I'll be glad to move it to the "read" bookshelf!
Zorba the Greek is about a man on his way to Crete to start a lignite mine. Along his way, he encounters a curious and aging man, Zorba, whom he befriends and hires as his foreman. Zorba and the narrator couldn't be more different from one another. The narrator is a scholarly bookworm who buries his nose in such works as Dante's Divine Comedy and is writing a book about Buddah (or maybe that is just the title?). Zorba, on the other hand, is full of life and zest and chastises the narrator for writing and reading about life but not living it. The two characters, in their adventures, learn a lot from one another, and in the end the narrator decides he will continue nosing around in books but will do so with vigor and purpose.
Bottom line? I felt like I was reading the surface of the book the entire time. The language (although this is translated, so not sure how to "review" that) is at times gorgeous, but I never really understood what was going on in the book and what the purpose was. Eeeks! Zorba, while an endearing character difficult not to like, spouts off so much philosophical crud that I was often lost and confused. I guess I just didn't get it. And I had a tough time finding anything about the book online-even the wikipedia entry is short and incomplete. I could definitely use another reading of this book, but not next year--and probably not the year after that either.
A taste of the reading:
"The aim of man and matter is to create joy, according to Zorba--others would say "to create spirit," but that comes to the same thing on another plane. But why? With what objects? And when the body dissolves, does anything at all remain of what we have called the soul? Or does nothing remain, and does our unquenchable desire for immortality spring, not from the fact that we are immortal, but from the fact that during the short span of our life we are in the service of something immortal?" (272).
My head hurts. :P But, finishing this book allows me to cross of two challenges! Yippee!!! Below are my lists. I usually provide links, but I'm really really hungry (because I dropped my hot lunch on the floor today at work), and I don't think anyone actually links from here, so...that's that.
ORBIS TERRANUM CHALLENGE COMPLETE - 9 books, 9 countries--Thanks Bethany!!
Zorba the Greek - Greece
*Half of a Yellow Sun - Nigeria
Swiss Family Robinson - Switzerland
**The God of Small Things - India
The Picture of Dorian Gray - Ireland
Anne Frank Remembered - Netherlands
*The Robber Bride - Canada
A Long Way Gone - Sierra Leone
The Translator - Darfur (Sudan)
Wraping it up for Bethany:
1.) What did you like about the challenge? I loved getting to "visit" so many different countries and "experience" so many different cultures.
2.) What would you like to see change for next year? I like Corinne's idea about having a "database" where we can search for reviews by country for new ideas.
3.) About the rules, or the non-existent rules...did you like that? Yup!! I like rules. :P
4.) Are you going to join us next year? Definitely!
5.) Pretty please give me any suggestions for changes, the betterment of the challenge, or just anything that you would like to see changed for next year. See above about database. Also, an easy link for the Mister Linky would be great, too. Until I finally bookmarked it, I had to do a lot of searching to find it.
6.) Would you like the challenge to be more involved? What if we read books together sometimes? Would that interest you? I like the idea of group books, but unfortunately my schedule doesn't always allow for it. Boo!
7.) would you be interested in helping somehow next year? How would you like to help? I'd love to help with anything! Just let me know. :)
TBR CHALLENGE COMPLETE - sitting on my shelf for an embarrassing amount of time (Thanks MizB)
Zorba the Greek
Mother of Pearl
A Map of the World
A Rumor of War
The Left Hand of Darkness
*The Robber Bride
*Tender at the Bone
All the King's Men
* denotes favorites although most of them were great reads! So hard to define a favorite anyway when they are all soooooo different!