Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life

Daniel Klein, Author
Daniel Klein. Penguin, $20 (164p) ISBN 978-0-14-312193-0
Reviewed on: 10/01/2012
Release date: 10/30/2012
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-1-101-60301-7
Hardcover - 317 pages - 978-1-4104-5565-9
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-1-85168-995-8
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Following a trip to his dentist, 73-year-old Klein considers his options after being advised that he needs tooth implants or a denture. Klein (Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar) opts for a sojourn to the Greek island of Hydra. Accompanied by a suitcase crammed with philosophy books, Klein contemplates the Greek philosopher Epicurus’ pivotal question. “He fundamentally wanted to know how to make the most of his one life,” writes Klein. Eschewing the “forever young” treadmill many American’s embrace, Klein explores a different path, examining the relaxed Greek lifestyle surrounding him. He laments what’s lost in the frantic rush to stay youthful: “And we have no time left for a calm and reflective appreciation of our twilight years, no deliciously long afternoons sitting with friends or listening to music or musing about the story of our lives.” The author ruminates on the benefits of freeing ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs; the pleasures of companionship in old age; battling boredom; the difference between sexual urges and sexual nostalgia; and the value of facing death blissfully. Along the way, Klein touches on the ideas of Bertrand Russell, Erik Erikson, Aristotle, and William James. Klein’s narrative is a delightful and spirited conversation, offering up the ingredients inherent to the art of living well in old age. Agent: Julia Lord. (Nov.)
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