The narrator whose name is never mentioned, is a 35-year old Greek; his friends rightly call him, bookworm. One of his friends, Stavridaki is mentioned.
Protagonist sets off to Crete in order to re-open a disused lignite mine and thereby to get some worldly experience too. When he was sitting at the restaurant, an old man of 60, Alexis Zorbescu approaches for a job displaying his versatile genius, and he makes him superindent. Zorba has a keen interest in women and here in Crete, he manages to seduce Madame Hortense on whose hotel they stay. Narrator is fascinated by his behaviour and strange ideas which contributes much to the widening of his intellectual horizon.
The moment of departure eventually comes and the narrator is also informed of Stavridaki's death. Zorba marries again and they keep in touch. One night he dreams about Zorba and feels that he is dying; he writes an account of their life together and on completion a letter arrives confirming his death. Zorba has bequeathed his sanduri - his favourite musical instrument - to the narrator.
Rating: Not Bad
--- adapted into film in 1964, starring Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates and Irene Papas and it won an Oscar nomination.
--- character Zorba is based on George Zorbas (1867-1942), a mine worker.
Lines I Liked:
"The belly is the firm foundation; bread, wine and meat are the first essentials; it is only with bread, wine and meat that one can create God."
"The life of man is a road with steep rises and dips."
"Every man has his folly, but the greatest folly of all, in my view, is not to have one."
"Have you faith? Then a splinter from an old door becomes a sacred relic. Have you no faith? Then the whole Holy Cross itself becomes an old doorpost to you."
"Happiness is doing your duty, and harder the duty the greater the happiness."