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Like his The Last Temptation of Christ, literary master Nikos Kazantzakis's The Greek Passion is a daring exploration of the pitfalls of a religion as it is practiced by its all-too-human followers. The tiny Greek village of Lycovrisi is planning its annual Passion play when its customary tranquility is ruptured by the arrival of a group of starved refugees from a village destroyed by the Turks. The refugees, led by a righteous priest named Father Fotis, beg for assistance from the villagers of Lycovrisi, but are turned away by the domineering village elders, who each have their particular reasons for refusing to help. As tensions grow among the villagers of Lycovrisi, their elders, and the outsiders, each person in turn will be forced to reckon with his sins and seek his own path to salvation.
This provocative literary rendering of the life of Jesus Christ has courted controversy since its publication by depicting a Christ far more human than the one seen in the Bible--a holy figure who was nonetheless only a man like any other, subject to fear, doubt, and pain. In elegant, thoughtful prose Nikos Kazantzakis follows this Christ as he struggles to live out God's will for him, powerfully suggesting that it was Christ's ultimate triumph over his flawed humanity, when he gave up the temptation to run from the cross and willingly laid down his life for mankind, that truly made him the venerable redeemer of men. The basis for Martin Scorcese's 1988 film of the same name, The Last Temptation of Christ stands alongside other frequently banned classics like The Satanic Verses as a brave and incisive reckoning between a religion's founding tenets and their more difficult implications
A continuation of Homer's epic poem, Kazantzakis's own Odyssey finds Odysseus once again leaving Ithaca on finding that the satisfactions of home and hearth are not as he remembered them. Following an encounter with the former Helen of Troy (now returned to her husband, the king of Sparta, after the ignominious defeat of the Trojans), Odysseus gradually wends his way to Egypt and southward, grappling all the while with questions about the nature of God. Considered by Kazantzakis himself to be one of his most important works, The Odyssey takes readers on a richly imagined quest for adventure and understanding with one of literature's most timeless characters.
Disarmingly personal and intensely philosophical, Report to Greco is a fictionalized account of Greek philosopher and writer Nikos Kazantzakis's own life, a sort of intellectual autobiography that leads readers through his wide-ranging observations on everything from the Hegelian dialectic to the nature of human existence, all framed as a report to the Spanish Renaissance painter El Greco. The assuredness of Kazantzakis's prose and the nimbleness of his thinking as he grapples with life's essential questions--who are we, and how should we be in the world?--will inspire awe and more than a little reflection from readers seeking to answer these questions for themselves.
Like The Last Temptation of Christ, Saint Francis is a fictionalized biography of a widely venerated Christian figure: Francis of Assisi, whose renunciation of his young man's life of leisure and founding of a religious order dedicated to living in poverty and sharing the Gospels with all living things profoundly influence the ways in which Christians the world over worship and give service to their god even today. Recounted in Nikos Kazantzakis's striking prose through the eyes of the saint's brother, Leo, the life of Saint Francis shines in these pages as a heroic example of inspirational leadership and boundless love for God and all His creatures.
As a writer and philosopher, Nikos Kazantzakis struggled all his life with existential questions, once spending several months in a monastery in an attempt to attain a closer relationship with God. His relentless quest to understand the nature of life through travel, extensive reading, and constant conversation with a diverse array of compatriots ultimately led Kazantzakis to compose this book of "spiritual exercises" meant to help the reader achieve harmony between the countervailing human impulses toward an immortality-seeking asceticism and toward a more nihilistic and materialist view of death. As with all Kazantzakis's philosophical works, The Saviors of God sheds light on a mind uniquely suited to a nuanced examination of what it means to be human, and establishes a hopeful vision for a dazzlingly syncretic approach to spiritual life.
This classic novel, the basis for the Oscar-winning 1964 film of the same name, vividly portrays the complex and multifaceted friendship between a young Greek intellectual and Alexis Zorba, a sixty-year-old swashbuckling Romanian-born Greek whose bullish charm and self-professed excellence as a chef, miner, and musician immediately draws the young man to hire him as a foreman in an ambitious new mining venture in Crete. Though the two men disagree on much, their conversations will open the young man's eyes to a world that bears little resemblance to the one he thinks he knows from his books. Suffused with the colorful atmosphere of the Mediterranean and the sly wisdom of its unforgettable title character, Zorba the Greek has found its way into the hearts of readers around the globe.
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