“Zorba the Greek”; Literate Talks

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What came over you to make you dance like that?”
“What could I do, boss? My joy was choking me. I had to find some outlet. And what sort of outlet? Words? Pfff!”

 

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

“Hag-Seed”; Literate Talks

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“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

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“The Hour of the Star”; Literate Talks

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  “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.”

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“Remember, Body…”; Literate Talks

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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.

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“White Nights” & “Eugene Onegin”; Literate Talks

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*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!

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“Crime and Punishment”; Literate talks

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Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Crime and Punishment! It’s unforgivably disturbing and beautiful.

Dostoevsky is one of those authors that you know very well that you can’t do him justice whatever you write and however you write it. Try to add some poetic touch suddenly it becomes too “Pushkin”. Then you try a much stricter structure but of course you end up with a “Freud” rant! Now, that’s Fyodor right in the middle!

“In a morbid condition, dreams are often distinguished by their remarkably graphic, vivid, and extremely lifelike quality. The resulting picture is sometimes monstrous, but the setting and the whole process of the presentation sometimes happen to be so probable, and with details so subtle, unexpected, yet artistically consistent with the whole fullness of the picture, that even the dreamer himself would be unable to invent them in reality, though he were as much an artist as Pushkin or Turgenev. Such dreams, morbid dreams, are always long remembered and produce a strong impression on the disturbed and already excited organism of the person. Raskolnikov had a terrible dream.” 
This is Dostoevsky at his purest and most beautiful prose! His words literally have another flow, an entire different sense of poetic-ness and realism. What leaves me even more in love with him is that in Russian I know that he’s even more exquisite. Maybe I am consumed with all the criticism but I am convinced that Russian fully captures Fyodor’s uniqueness! I surely don’t know the language but only by hearing it I am in the great position to see this writer writing in it, telling his stories through such a romantic but yet also harsh language to foreign ears like mine.
Dostoevsky knows how to get under your skin, he brings to the paper all these wonders, all these dreams and all the sins we have either committed or desire to commit!

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“The House At Riverton”; Literate Talks

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The House At Riverton is Kate Morton’s debut novel, a novel who captures spectacularly the writer’s excellency in storytelling.

“I sound contemptuous, but I am not. I am interested–intrigued even–by the way time erases real lives, leaving only vague imprints. Blood and spirit fade away so that only names and dates remain.”
This heartbreaking story goes back to the 1900’s, from the WWI to the glorious 1920’s! Like any other Edwardian set book, my dearest readers it’s full of heavy political talks at dinners, heartwarming goodbyes to young soldiers, depressing marriages long plotted for financial stability and of course, SUFFRAGETTES! An area very beloved by me and certainly by some of you as well.
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