1 of 1001 Books: Nikos Kazantzakis’ Zorba The Greek

Alexis Zorba, a Greek workman, accompanies the narrator, a writer, to Crete. When Zorba is working he is dedicated to spending hours supervising the labors at the mine, and when he’s not at work he is just as dedicated to soaking in all that life possibly offers whether that be spending time with monks, sharing his stories of past love, and family, or acting on his physical desire for women.

My Thoughts 
You’re reading correctly. I am beginning another 1001 list, and this time it’s books. This list will probably be the slowest going of the bunch, as books, particularly like the ones on this list, take a lot slower consumption. The first book is Zorba the Greek, first published in 1946.  I’m not sure how I’m going to become accustomed to books like this because they usually aren’t my go to read, but this book does give you some interesting things to ponder afterward, my only wish is that Zorba would have been more of a character to lead me into the story than the other characters.

Lots of beautiful narrations of Crete are included in the book. I wanted to study abroad, and see Greece the whole time I was reading. Not everything about the characters are as dream like though. Zorba seems to have this carefree mentality, but in small doses he shares stories of his past that reveal a dark side he dealt with during war. I think what most intrigued me though were the women of the novel. You find yourself wondering how the narrator really perceives them since Zorba obviously treats them as sex objects, but seems to try to treat them like dolls.

In a lot of ways I found myself being reminded of Ernest Heminway while reading though I’m sure that could easily be disputed. It was very masculine in content, and had this feel of two men trying to thrive on the world as much they could despite the fact work whether it was mining, or writing a novel also took some of their time. The narrator wants to steal Zorba’s all around zest for life though, and in some ways I don’t blame him. Though I really wouldn’t want to be 65 and lost like Zorba was. He seemed to almost be living like a twenty year old man.

Much of the book seems to be thoughts from Zorba on women, religion, work, and whatever else life has thrown him. It takes time to read to take in the content as it provides content it wants you to think over. I’m a naturally quick reader, so I found it difficult to pace myself. Zorba is a fascinating guy though. It seems he made less sense when talking to the narrator though, and more sense when talking to one of the ladies. I imagine that visually this book has a lot to offer, and an a perspective from an older men nearing the end of his life to take in.

Rating 3 of 5.

Memorable Quote:

“Since we cannot change reality, let us 

change the eyes which see reality.” 

– Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

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