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The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller

The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry MillerHenry Miller is known for his scandalous books about sex. The reader who is familiar with Miller’s «Tropic of Cancer» and «Seksus», «The Colossus of Maroussi» seem like a book of another writer. About sex there is no word about love, maybe a couple of words about women half a paragraph. Greece, Greece, Greece fill every page of the «The Colossus of Maroussi». Lived before in Paris, Miller felt that something had changed, and satisfied with his earlier order in his chaotic life stopped him. To change the situation, Miller decided to make the long journey to Greece. Plus to this, he gave himself a promise not to write one year. No books, no papers, no sketches — rest! The rest that Miller has never been. And what a vacation is possible for the person who has no money and work? As he wrote in 1934: “I Have no job, no savings, no hope. I’m the happiest person in the world.”

Already on the boat begins with the introduction of Miller with the Greeks. And once they try it they love — their passion for disputes, generosity, kindness, all this in France, it was not enough. Almost immediately upon arrival in Athens Miller swims to the island of Corfu on a boat which does not go through the Corinth canal, and amplive almost the whole Peloponnese, with a stop in Patra.

Corfu Miller bathing, sunbathing and resting with Darrell and his wife. Then his route becomes confusing, it runs between Corfu and Athens, until he finally begins his journey through the Peloponnese. Here began the most interesting part of the book. Recently, I also traveled throughout Greece, though not so long and without such a scale as Miller, but also had the pleasure to talk with the Greeks, and even make friends with some of them. And, of course, very, very exciting to compare my impressions of the cities, antique sites with the impressions of the author.

In fact, the format of the “The Colossus of Maroussi” is travelog, a diary of the journey, with impressions and sketches. Expect an exciting plot is not, as usual, however, the Miller. Funny scenes, interspersed with the movements of the author from one point to another — here is a brief essence of the book. It would seem that here fascinating? But “The Colossus of Maroussi” Miller reveals his soul, talks about life, about people. Reading it, I feel like these are my thoughts. I largely agree with him. The book can be disassembled into quotations to do the pictures with the kittens, they will suffice not on one ten years.

Henry Miller
Henry Miller

However, having finished the book, I had a couple of questions. Miller gives the impression of a poser, who writes what he feels at this very moment, this second. A couple of years later, but even a second later, he can already count drastically differently and act contrary to their words. For starters, on the way to Mycenae Miller with its companion Katsimpalis met a little boy who was crying for three drachmas. They stole his sister. And what makes the person who lived in poverty almost all his life, and went to dinner on schedule to friends, because he had no sous to buy bread?

This kind of reasoning book is full. A reasonable question arises, what made Miller so hating his home, still return there immediately after the Greek travel? The answer is simple: war. After 1940, the year to travel would be somewhat difficult, because in 1940 year, the 28th of October, Ioannis Metaxas refused passage to Greece by Italian troops of Mussolini.

In fact, after this, Greece entered the Second world war. Isn’t well matched that with an American passport, Miller was able to cross the ocean and live in peace in their own home in the picturesque village of big sur (California)? It is, of course, before it was “asked” to leave Greece Embassy, but nevertheless.

Reader review may wonder why it is so important and, in the end, when I write, as usual, just the feedback on the book?

The fact that Henry Miller is my idol for a long time. In high school I accidentally found in the book “tropic of cancer”, where it all began. Outrageous passages about love, sex, corruption of society and the insignificance of people — what could a teenage boy stronger? However, it is useful to remember that the real person and the hero in the book, albeit with autobiographical accents, different personas.

Can I say that he was disappointed in Miller’s after the “The Colossus of Maroussi”? Partly. However, I believe that the value of the book is not detract. Thin people-watching, wonderful, sometimes more like hallucinations, descriptions of nature and the ruins, well — honed language-all this is, as always in books of Miller, there is “The Colossus of Maroussi”. Just a little more reference to reality than in other books. A description of the Miller amphitheatre of Epidavros is just one big quote, but in the format of the opinion it no longer fits. Recommended reading, especially to fans of Greece (and Henry Miller).

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