Theodora Vasils, a Chicago author and well-known authority on the Cretan writer Nikos Kazantzakis, has published a new book about his life. Some say Hold Fast the Mountain Pass is perhaps the most genuine and authentic book about the infamous Greek writer.
For decades, Vasils has translated many of Kazantzakis’ works into English, as well as those of other Greek authors. In fact, Kazantzakis’ wife declared her “among the best of Kazantzakis’ translators.” Vasils earned a Doctor of Letters Degree honoris causa from Dominican University “for her response to the challenge posed by the most renowned Greek writer of our time, Nikos Kazantzakis.”
Over the years, Vasils has called Kazantzakis’ wife Helen, “her dear friend.” The author therefore weaves her own memories, with the factual information and personal letters provided by Kazantzakis’ widow, and added generally accepted notions of the author, to create this work, which she calls “A Work of Historical Fiction about the Life and World of Nikos Kazantzakis.”
The editorial view at Amazon.com states, “Beginning with those first pivotal years, Hold Fast the Mountain Pass narrates Kazantzakis’ life — his poverty, his life in exile, his struggle as a writer groping for a ‘voice,’ and describes the conditions under which that voice brought forth the prolific range of work that included The Odyssey, Zorba the Greek, and the controversial Last Temptation of Christ. It continues through the period of maturity when the floodgates opened to release the final great novels, and covers Kazantzakis from the historical perspective of his own country, and also in the larger context of the two World Wars which defined most of the twentieth century.”
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