Email this review


Readers familiar with work will recognize the recurrent theme in his treatment of the life of St. Francis of Assist. Again he explores the subject closest to his heart the between flesh and spirit. The result is a compelling portrayal of the evolution of a saint in which more insight is gained into the inner being of Kazantzakis himself. The prologue to his novel contains a revealing statement in which Kazantzakis sees the model of the dutiful man who fulfills ""our highest obligation.... to the matter which God entrusted to us and turn it into spirit"". Kazantzakis does not subscribe to the principle of the golden mean; neither does St. Francis. Before his divine vision Francis Bernardone is pictured as a bon vivant and serenader of ladies but he is plagued by a he feels inside him. He befriends a beggar who later becomes his faithful companion and confidant and injects the only bit of humor in the book. Forsaking his family, his sweetheart and his claim to worldly possessions, Francis sets out with Brother Leo to accomplish his holy mission. He becomes a revolutionary and a laughingstock among his own people, preaching a passionate message of salvation to ears. But he is never entirely free of the temptations of the world and the novel focusses on his constant internal struggle to remain true to his divine inspiration. Kazantzakis has a large following among the American reading public who will welcome his latest book. One could wish however for a freer translation. The Greek expressions often seem stilled and awkward in the transition.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster