This book represented for me the essence of a person searching to find his true self. Henry Miller had the courage to record his journey of coming to terms with his beliefs, values and philosophical views of life, of society, of the world, and what he needed in order to be happy in returning to America.
Greece had done something for me which New York, nay, even America itself, could never destroy. Greece had made me free and whole.
He gives thanks and pays homage to each and every one of the friends he made in Greece “for having revealed to [him] the true proportions of the human being […], the goodness, the integrity, the charity which they emanated. They brought me
face to face with myself, they cleansed me of hatred and jealousy and envy.” He goes on to say that they demonstrated all of this by their own example that life can be lived magnificently on any scale, under any conditions.
For me I didn’t read the book as much as I experienced his travels, his adventures and his stories as a catharsis. As I have lived through the era of counter culture of the sixties and how important it was to be your true self and anti-establishment. The book is more of a reminder that “being real” is an art form in itself. To find that place in your heart and soul that gives you integrity and courage to follow your own path. So many young people were influenced by this book to travel to Greece searching for meaning in their lives.
Again it was not an easy read as there is so much to absorb about Greece, its history and its geography including all the mystical, metaphysical beliefs of the Gods. It was a deeply spiritual experience for him. Then there was also the Durrells and their friends and the adventures they took him on. Indeed it took a long time to read and at times I had difficulty in trying to concentrate on all the detail.
His writing style is also demanding of the reader. Nonetheless I enjoyed the book and I think he writes with such honesty, such exuberance and sincerity that it filled me with admiration for him.
I give it an 8 and have no doubt there will be a lot to talk about.