Sunburned and melancholic that I returned from my vacation, it’s at last time to sit down and write to you about this wondrous work of Nikos Kazantzakis, a novel-landmark not only for Grete but the entire Greece as well.
I first encountered the above-pictured copy of Zorba in a small, picturesque souvenir shop in Gerakini, Chalkidiki. A shop whose “aroma” inspired nothing but Grecian air and sea, the proper home for Kazantzakis’ words!
A quick glance at the first page and I was intrigued and lured into our intellectual’s world. Zorba had been made an instant perfect acquaintance of mine.
Grabbed my copy, grabbed my postcards and headed straight to the sea.
Thus, began my trip to Crete! Continue reading
“Like a bird on the wire, Like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free”
Quoting the beloved, Leonard Cohen seemed like the most appropriate and smoothest way to begin our talk. You’ll also find that his presence in this work of fiction is not only used musically but metaphorically as well, I would like to say almost as a foreshadowing or as an irony, -as enigmatic as it sounds, it’s really worth solving by yourself-.
As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
He exits. – epilogue, The Tempest
“In no sense an intellectual, I write with my body. ”
From the very beginning of this book, you know that you’re going to annotate it a hell lot. Lispector manages to fill every sentence of hers so very beautifully and simply. Even if you put aside her wonderful writing, you get a text and a persona.
This is a short novel. A novel that plays quite sensitively with the lines of fiction and autobiography.
“Just as I am writing at the same time as I am being read. Only I do not start with the ending that would justify the beginning — as death appears to comment on life — because I must record the preceding events.
Even as I write this I feel ashamed at pouncing on you with a narrative that is so open and explicit.”
“The day and time itself: late afternoon in early February, was there a moment of the year better suited for despair?” –Alice McDermott
That was honestly the most positive quote I found concerning February. Quite a negativity around this month from the circles of literature. To be fair, February has kinda earned its reputation. For one, look at St. Valentines, sweethearts are all over the place trying to find the perfect gift (in the most perfect reasonable price) and on the other hand the single ones, are reminded of the absence of a partner annually, in the coldest days of winter (with their fireplace as their only intimate companion). The fact that mr. Valentine departed life brutally as a wild supporter of love and defender of forbidden love overshadows the fun so…he’s literally playing the third wheel. If this wasn’t enough, this month is considered the month of the dead. If you seek more explanation;
A pocket-sized reminder that poetry is dangerous!
Cavafy. Dear Constantine, my most sincere apologies for the years I abandoned you and your work at my half-opened literature textbooks. I have finally come to meet you in a proper way. See you again this year!
Parenthesis has closed. For one, I kinda owed Cavafy an apology for my quick and a little harsh judgment of his work (oh, and yes, I’m still getting nostalgic over last year’s reads). This little black classic (along with Rossetti’s’) helped me overcome the intimidation, the fear of poetry. Talking about fears is also extremely intimidating so let me quote one of Fanny and Keats’s discussions.
Fanny Brawne: I still don’t know how to work out a poem.
John Keats: A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery.
“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year.” – Emily Dickinson
Mon Dieu! It’s been literally a month. November hasn’t left us still but since I’m in the mood of emotional goodbyes, why not to end his -yeah, he’s a blond, tall, Norwegian academic in my head- chapter today! Of course, I would be lying if denied Dickinson’s participation in such a fantasy.
Dearest readers, ladies and gentlemen, take a moment to think about November…. give this month a form, a face, a gender if you like… he is bloody Norwegian, exactly like she said.
Let’s put deep thoughts aside. For one, let me introduce you this new kind of post, where every month we’re going to have a cup of coffee and discuss the month…
**takes a small sip**November was greatly fulfilling! I’m happy to say that I enjoyed myself a lot, in the company of fabulous friends and fabulous books.
*note; these are obviously the greek editions
September has ended and he (because September is definitely a “he”) took with him a great deal of literature, Russian literature to be exact! Like it was expected I have no complaints, Dostoevsky and Pushkin did keep me great company in those rainy and dark nights in my bed.
Having some Tchaikovsky in the background (**here she hints to you that you have to listen his “Eugene Onegin” opera**) and the unexpected sun keeping me this time company, I’m struggling to write this very review. Like every other book, I get too emotional and academically driven. You may excuse my endless ramblings and parenthesizes. Now, actually meaning it, let’s get into the deep void of Russian books!