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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 May 2015
Originally published in 1946 and now republished in a new translation, this international bestseller tells of the unlikely friendship between the passive and ineffectual narrator and his relationship with the exuberant larger-than-life Zorba – adventurer, musician, womaniser, storyteller, dancer, and as far as I’m concerned, complete idiot. The book has legions of fans and I just don’t get what they find so appealing. If the book, as is claimed, gives a vibrant and authentic picture of life in Greece, then remind me to avoid the place. I simply couldn’t read this misogynistic and unconvincing romp. Definitely not one for me.
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on 27 June 1997
Perhaps the finest spiritual book in print, Kazantzakis' _Zorba_the_Greek_ simultaneously praises the spirit and the body, affirming human existence like no other tale around.
Alexis Zorba is a hero the likes of which haven't been seen since Odysseus or Sinbad the Sailor. He combines gruff physicality with love of life without falling into the selfish hedonism one might expect. Zorba is indulgent, but never in such a way that his character is destroyed.
Zorba incarnates the soul, both for himself and for the reader. The "Zorbatic" theology provides for the world a God and a belief in that God that refuses to deny life, never turning against what it is to live.
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on 31 January 2015
This is an important, profound book. The only one that ever made me cry.

I bought it to read on holiday, but soon gave up, to take it on again in cold, cold winter. This is a slow, contemplative book, Kazantzakis' masterpiece.

Like the narrator, by the end the reader will feel challenged to look at their own life and wonder whether you're living it to the full, like Zorba.

Read it!
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on 7 December 1998
This book is about life and its extremes. It describes the battle between free-spiritedness and conservatism. It makes any reader analyze the way he/she lives. I suggest that everyone read this book to gain essential insight into the perfect way of life. It is, without a doubt, a secular bible for living.
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on 8 October 2016
Read it and soak up the aliveness. Then go read DH Lawrence and James Hillman and enjoy the feeling of LIVING again. Not this mechanical sort of half-dead living you've probably grown accustomed to in your adulthood. A life of spontaneity, joy, wonder and sacredness awaits those who follow this path!
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on 26 May 1998
Zorba is perhaps the most memorable of characters. His ethos and pathos speak to each of us. He is ebullient, passionate, bruttish and fragile. He is alive with the questions of humanity and the pathos of Greek heroism. It is sad to finish the novel. Comforting to find him waiting in its pages.
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on 11 May 2001
"Each morning they see a new world before their eyes; they do not really see it, they CREATE it" Zorbas is a Greek man who sees life with another view different than ours. He enjoys his life as much as possible. Everyday he faces world like a small kid who have never seen the world before. His life is like everyday is the last and like everyday is the first day in his life at the same time! Zorbas has the ability to admire the most usual things - stars, animals, flowers, sea... "No half measure" When he sees food, he thinks of it. When time for work comes, he gets involved in it. He does everything with great involvement, he does not bother about all things at once. God always forgive everything wrong we did in our lives. But He never forgives a man if a woman desires him and this man doesn't offer her the satisfaction she needs. This is the only thing according to Zorbas that God doesn't forgive to men.
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on 24 April 1997
Definitely one of the few books that give you the feeling that life is just worth living. Once you realize what is 'ultimate catastrophe' or 'the one unforgivable sin', you will see life differently. If you have seen the film and listened to the music, go forward and read the book.
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on 3 November 2006
I haven't read a good fiction book in a long time... but this book demanded attention. It brought me back to my senses, after being swept away by philosophical meanderings for so long. This book is a teacher, it teaches you that life is to be lived, really, truly and completely and not just to be thought about and thrown away.

If you read one book in the next year, make this it!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 1 March 2014
This is one of the books that is recommended as one of the thousand books to read before you die. I am slowly working my way through them.

From the reviews here already I see that it is one of those books many people feel passionately about and defend to the death.

I cannot, for the life of me, see why.

The hero, such as he is, seems totally unable to connect with life in any meaningful way except through a homoerotic, parasitical friendship with Zorba, who acts as a conduit to what the hero perceives is 'real' about life. He justifies his own lack of connection with the world, and his stultifying failure to do anything at all by hiding in his faux Buddhist learnings and writings. I felt that his inability to have real relationships with anyone, and his constant running away from everyone and everything rendered any insights he might have totally useless. He strikes me as a coward, wrapping up his shortcomings in a kind of mystical 'get out of jail free' card.

As for Zorba, I did not find him in the slightest bit engaging in any way. His philosophy is basically 'do what you will for tomorrow we die,' which is fine if you are the one doing what you will, and not fine if you are the one/s dealing with what is left behind. The freedom in the book is bought at a heavy price, which everyone pays except for the two main characters. Zorba and the narrator understand that life is suffering, but they don't seem to mind that their suffering is lessened when they heap misery upon the heads of others.

The treatment of women in the book is frankly appalling. I appreciate it may reflect a reality of the past which may ameliorate the horror of it slightly, but it strikes me in a book that is meant to be a great treatise on the nature of humanity, that it is a very one sided humanity that only works if you are a man, and allows those men to justify slicing a woman's head off outside a church as 'the way things are'.
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