The Colossus of MaroussiBook - 2010
The author's quest for spiritual renewal is illuminated in descriptions of his impressions of Greece and its people
Henry Miller’s landmark travel book, now reissued in a new edition, is ready to be stuffed into any vagabond’s backpack.
Like the ancient colossus that stood over the harbor of Rhodes, Henry Miller’s The Colossus of Maroussi stands as a seminal classic in travel literature. It has preceded the footsteps of prominent travel writers such as Pico Iyer and Rolf Potts. The book Miller would later cite as his favorite began with a young woman’s seductive description of Greece. Miller headed out with his friend Lawrence Durrell to explore the Grecian countryside: a flock of sheep nearly tramples the two as they lie naked on a beach; the Greek poet Katsmbalis, the “colossus” of Miller’s book, stirs every rooster within earshot of the Acropolis with his own loud crowing; cold hard-boiled eggs are warmed in a village’s single stove, and they stay in hotels that “have seen better days, but which have an aroma of the past.”
From the critics
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"This time, being equipped with a flashlight, we decided to descend the slippery staircase to the well. Durrell went first, Nancy next, and I followed gingerly behind. About halfway down we halted instinctively and debated whether to go any farther. I experienced the same feeling of terror as I had the first time with Katsimbalis, more, if anything, since we had descended into the bowels of the earth. I had two distinct fears — one, that the buttress at the head of the stairs would give way and leave us to smother in utter darkness, and two, that a misstep would send me slithering down into the pit amidst a spawn of snakes, lizards and bats. I was tremendously relieved when Durrell ... consented to abandon the descent. I was thankful that I was now first instead of last... Thinking back on it now, after a lapse of months, I honestly believe I'd rather be shot than forced to descend that staircase alone."
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