Monday, June 17, 2013

Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis – June 14, 2013

Βίος και Πολιτεία του Αλέξη Ζορμπά (Vios kai politeia tou Alexi Zormpa)
'Life and Adventures of Alexis Zorbas' published in 1946

Ten KRG readers met to share their enthusiasm for this novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, so wonderfully translated by Carl Wildman. Quite a few had their first introduction to the story through the 1963 film, starring Anthony Quinn.

Alan Bates as the boss, Basil, and Anthony Quinn as Zorba in the 1963 film

Zorba is an unbelievable character whose sayings and questions pepper this novel with a philosophical flourish. His role is to remove the blinkers from the mind of his bookish boss, and open up the world of the Aegean with its sunlight, the sea, the flowers, the women, the food, and the dancing  all designed to help the boss throw off the shackles of his reading.

Nikos Kazantzakis – the epitaph on his grave 

As any true novel which goes on far enough, it ends in death and leaves us wondering: did such a man really live? Kazantzakis claimed that Zorba is modelled on a person he knew, and many of the scenes in the book (the island of Crete, the sea, Russia, Buddhism, lignite mining, and so on) are derived from the author's life experiences. Kazantzakis is one with Zorba in stating that his travels taught him more than his books and university studies ever did.

Here is a site with extensive notes on the life of Kazantzakis, his publications, and photographs documenting his life (and loves): 

Alexis Zorba in the film

The beaming look on the readers' faces when they posed after the reading is a measure of how much enjoyment they got from the communal reading and sharing of this novel.

Zakia, Priya, Talitha, KumKum, Thommo, Bobby, Sivara, Mathew, Gopa

Please click below to read the full account.