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Book 10 Completed

February 2, 2010

Zorba!!! Here is what I learned from you:

1. Women are DUMB. And oh-so-inferior. And ridiculously emotional and unable to control themselves. So, they’re really only good for having sex with.

2. Because women are unable to control themselves, you’re not doing them any favors if you DON’T have sex with them. The women will be so confused and hurt and God will never forgive you. 

3. We’re all dealing with an existential predicament…and life really like DOES suck and then you die. So…since there is no heaven and no hell and no consequence for behavior other than the consequences you put on yourself, it doesn’t matter what you do in this life. Kill people? Lie? Steal? Cheat? Live with no regrets.

4. It’s forgivable to lie to a woman and say you’re going to marry her even if you have no intention to. Just pray that she dies before she finds out you’re lying.

5. Dance. Sing. Play the Santuri. And no one will truly care if you’re a grade-A asshole. 

Man, did I ever hate this “larger than life” Zorba. People love this book and actually think he has something to teach them?? Did they read the same book I read?? He SLEPT WITH A BULGARIAN WOMAN AND THEN KILLED HER THE NEXT DAY. But it wasn’t a big deal because you have to live your life, you know? 

People say this book is really symbolic of the changing times of Greece in the early-twentieth century; it’s really an examination of the juxtaposition between a life lived with your head vs. a life lived with your heart. (We’re not supposed to live like the narrator who, ummm *clears throat* reads a lot and writes a lot. I’m in trouble.) I think other books have captured those themes better and without creating this detestable man at the helm. I respect what this book is examining. I think the philosophy is fascinating. I also think it’s flawed. People who like this book say that Zorba’s outlook on life is inspiring and beautiful. It’s not that I JUST had a problem with the misogyny and sexism and nihilism. But boy, wouldn’t that be enough? I mean, that is all this book celebrates. You cannot divorce what Zorba preaches from the rest of the book…as much as those who love it want to do. 

So, if I had to rank my reading so far…I hate this less than Everything is Illuminated, but it’s second in the dislike category. 

On a better note: I must make it to Greece before I die. The book at least did that much for me — it sounds BEAUTIFUL.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sherry permalink
    February 3, 2010 9:19 am

    Sounds awful Shelbi! I had watched the movie a while back and didn’t realize it was actually a novel first. Misogynism and sexism were products of the time and place I’m told. I won’t be adding this to my reading list anytime soon. Great review Shelbi.

  2. Jakub permalink
    June 30, 2011 7:33 am

    I disagree! 🙂
    The message is: Women are not dumb/inferior/only-for-sex. They are incredible powerful and could lead man away from his chosen path any minute, “intrigue” him into marriage or destroy him by refusing. Different point of view: you may chose work-flexibility/freedom/remain-independent or marriage/house/children/nonturbulent-career (Zorbas words: “….so I married. Wife, children, house, everything. The full catastrophe”). Both ways you live with hearth & mind…
    Then if you would listen to the stories how the “intrigue” goes… how people cope with it struggling on their ways… you are going to hear: sex, lies and tragedy, religion under fire, just check out today’s news… how one set himself free from that? 🙂

    So despite different opinions on what is Zorbas saying, some man and woman loves to hear it and at least dream about it 🙂

    • August 7, 2011 8:07 pm

      Thank you for your perspective on this! I can see that point of view and buy into it, absolutely. Although, I’m pretty sure I’m not a fan of the book regardless.

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