Once the author gets under way, this is a sort of modern Greek Pilgrim's Progress, touched by Chaucer and Cervantes and poetry. A well-to-do, well-educated young man tries to leave his books for a life of activity, meets a modern version of the ancient Greek, 65 year old Zorba, the natural man, and takes him along to help work in a lignite mine in a primitive Cretan village. Zorba, a most magnificent character, offers the young man freedom through a life of action, emotion, individual independence- living intensely in the moment. A friend offers one kind of freedom through patriotic duty; another through exile and hatred; and there are other alternatives. The scholar works himself away from the Buddhist concept of freedom through denial of the world, but cannot break completely from books and reason to reach Zorba's position.... But the philosophical intention here does not weight the book. There is humor, pathos, vulgarity, beauty, tragedy and a fullness of life and character. The slow start, however, the strangeness of rhythm, the lack of surface plot and much direct action will not attract an easy audience-though it is sure to command a distinctive press and a discerning public.