Zorba the Greek
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A stunning new translation of the classic book—and basis for the beloved Oscar-winning film—brings the clarity and beauty of Kazantzakis’s language and story alive.
First published in 1946, Zorba the Greek, is, on one hand, the story of a Greek working man named Zorba, a passionate lover of life, the unnamed narrator who he accompanies to Crete to work in a lignite mine, and the men and women of the town where they settle. On the other hand it is the story of God and man, The Devil and the Saints; the struggle of men to find their souls and purpose in life and it is about love, courage and faith.
Zorba has been acclaimed as one of the truly memorable creations of literature—a character created on a huge scale in the tradition of Falstaff and Sancho Panza. His years have not dimmed the gusto and amazement with which he responds to all life offers him, whether he is working in the mine, confronting mad monks in a mountain monastery, embellishing the tales of his life or making love to avoid sin. Zorba’s life is rich with all the joys and sorrows that living brings and his example awakens in the narrator an understanding of the true meaning of humanity. This is one of the greatest life-affirming novels of our time.
Part of the modern literary canon, Zorba the Greek, has achieved widespread international acclaim and recognition. This new edition translated, directly from Kazantzakis’s Greek original, is a more faithful rendition of his original language, ideas, and story, and presents Zorba as the author meant him to be.
good time, eat, drink and make love. At last her groping hand found the crucifix and she pressed it to her bosom, which was damp with sweat. “Dear Jesus, my dear Jesus . . .” she uttered passionately, clasping her last lover to her breast. Her words, which were half-French, half-Greek, but full of tenderness and passion, were very confused. The parrot heard her. He sensed that the tone of voice had changed, remembered the former long sleepless nights and livened up immediately. “Canavaro!
the workmen were to come on Monday from neighboring villages and begin work at the mine, so I had time this day to take a turn round the shores on which fate had cast me. Dawn was hardly peeping through when I started out. I went past the gardens, followed the edge of the sea, hurriedly made my acquaintance with the water, earth and air of the spot, picked wild plants, and the palms of my hands became redolent with savory, sage and mint. I climbed a hill and looked around. An austere countryside
sixty-fifth year, I think, but even if I live to be a hundred I’ll never lay off. I’ll still have a little mirror in my pocket, and I’ll still be running after the female of the species.” He smiled once more, threw his cigarette through the fanlight, stretched his arms and said: “I’ve plenty of other faults, but that is the one that’ll kill me.” He leapt from his bed. “Enough of all that. Cut the cackle. Today we work!” He dressed in a twinkling, put on his shoes and went out. With my head
“Well?” I said. “Go on.” Zorba shrugged his bony shoulders again. “Let’s drop it,” he said. “Will you give me a cigarette?” I gave him one. He took a lighter flint out of his pocket and a wick which he lit. He half-closed his eyes with contentment. “Married?” “Aren’t I a man?” he said angrily. “Aren’t I a man? I mean blind. Like everyone else before me, I fell headlong into the ditch. I married. I took the road downhill. I became head of a family, I built a house, I had children—trouble. But
to say our prayers.” “Turn back, Christians!” cried the monk, his clear blue eyes growing inflamed as he spoke. “Turn back, if you’ll take my advice! It is not the Virgin’s orchard you’ll find there, but the garden of Satan! Poverty, humility, chastity . . . the monk’s crown, as they say! Very likely. Go back, I tell you. Money, pride, and young boys! That’s their Holy Trinity!” “He’s a comic, this chap,” whispered Zorba, enchanted. He leaned towards him. “What’s your name, brother?” he asked