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Broken Souls is a novel different from what we are used to from the great author Nikos Kazantzakis. He wrote it in 1908 in Paris, where he was temporarily residing in pursuit of his postgraduate studies at the Collége de France, instructed by philosopher Henri Bergson himself. The characters, the idealist and turbulent student Orestis, the devoted but fragile friend of his, Chryssoula, and their conservative professor Gorgias, have all been “broken” by their painful contact with reality, while the only unscathed persona from existential dilemmas remains the fatal Nora.

“I want to live outside the herd! I want to fight, I want to solidify my nerves, I want to stretch upward, rise up and grab victory by the hair and kiss it on the mouth! All the thoughts of all the sages are worth nothing compared to a kiss on the mouth!”

This novel stirred the philological circles of Athens of the time so intensely that the young Nikos was forced to respond to his alarmed critics with an explanatory note.

“How terribly self-centered must we be to not be able to perceive - from the faint trembling of the hands that touch us - the great earthquakes that shake and shatter so many souls around us! How ecstatically voluptuous is the tremor of the rupturing souls, when ones deigns to reach out his hand and give them a little push...”

This masterpiece of Nikos Kazantzais’s juvenilia is a cautionary tale, but instead of the traditional "bad wolf", the ingenious young Nikos penetrates deep into the human soul and identifies all that deforms, wounds, breaks our naturally perfect soul. For Kazantzakis, nothing is stronger than the human soul and happiness is simple and accessible.

“Happiness is easier and simpler than we think: a little house on the edge of the valley, a woman's body, a beautiful day, a white sail on a calm sea, a warm handshake, a silent moment under the moon.”

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