The year is most likely The narrator, a young Greek intellectual, resolves to set aside his books for a few months after being stung by the parting words of a friend, Stavridakis, who has left for the Russian Caucasus to help some Pontic Greeks in that region often referred to as Caucasus Greeks who are being persecuted. He sets off for Crete to re-open a disused lignite mine and immerse himself in the world of peasants and working-class people. The man enters and immediately approaches him to ask for work.
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The year is most likely The narrator, a young Greek intellectual, resolves to set aside his books for a few months after being stung by the parting words of a friend, Stavridakis, who has left for the Russian Caucasus to help some Pontic Greeks in that region often referred to as Caucasus Greeks who are being persecuted.
He sets off for Crete to re-open a disused lignite mine and immerse himself in the world of peasants and working-class people. The man enters and immediately approaches him to ask for work. He claims expertise as a chef, a miner, and player of the santuri, or cimbalom , and introduces himself as Alexis Zorba, a Greek born in Romania. They are forced by circumstances to share a bathing-hut. The narrator spends Sunday roaming the island, the landscape of which reminds him of "good prose, carefully ordered, sober… powerful and restrained" and reads Dante.
On returning to the hotel for dinner, the pair invite Madame Hortense to their table and get her to talk about her past as a courtesan. Zorba gives her the pet-name "Bouboulina" likely inspired by the Greek heroine while he takes the pet-name "Canavaro" after real-life Admiral Canevaro , a past lover claimed by Hortense. The next day, the mine opens and work begins. The narrator, who has socialist ideals, attempts to get to know the workers, but Zorba warns him to keep his distance: "Man is a brute Quite frequently Zorba works long hours and requests not to be interrupted while working.
The narrator absorbs a new zest for life from his experiences with Zorba and the other people around him, but reversal and tragedy mark his stay on Crete.
His one-night stand with a beautiful passionate widow is followed by her public decapitation. Having overcome one of his own demons such as his internal "no," which the narrator equates with the Buddha, whose teachings he has been studying and about whom he has been writing for much of the narrative, and who he also equates with "the void" and having a sense that he is needed elsewhere near the end of the novel, the narrator has a premonition of the death of his old friend Stavridakis, which plays a role in the timing of his departure to the mainland , the narrator takes his leave of Zorba for the mainland, which, despite the lack of any major outward burst of emotionality, is significantly emotionally wrenching for both Zorba and the narrator.
It almost goes without saying that the two the narrator and Zorba will remember each other for the duration of their natural lives. The narrator and Zorba never see each other again, although Zorba sends the narrator letters over the years, informing him of his travels and work, and his marriage to a year-old woman.
Biography[ edit ] Kazantzakis in When Kazantzakis was born in in Kandiye , now Heraklion, Crete had not yet joined the modern Greek state which had been established in , and was still under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Then he went to the Sorbonne in to study philosophy. There he fell under the influence of Henri Bergson. In he met Angelos Sikelianos. Together they travelled for two years in places where Greek Orthodox Christian culture flourished, largely influenced by the enthusiastic nationalism of Sikelianos. Kazantzakis married Galatea Alexiou in ; they divorced in He married Eleni Samiou in
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