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Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Doctor Zhivago (1957)

by Boris Pasternak

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,070108397 (3.87)1 / 556
  1. 30
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English (98)  Yiddish (2)  French (2)  Hebrew (2)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  All (107)
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
At the beginning of this book I was intrigued and was into the story. However about half way through, it seemed as though the author was whining through the main character and his incapability to live with his "sins". The details about the war and Revolution dwindled towards the end. If you didn't feel like you'd been dragged through the mud by three quarters through the book, then the ending certainly dropped you like a hot plate! So depressing. While I didn't expect a happy ending to this story, I guess I also did not expect the tragic ending. The next generation is set up with tragedy and indeed the suffering never ends. Even though the book does. ( )
  Syndelle777 | Nov 12, 2017 |
un libro bellissimo e che adoro, certe pagine sono pura poesia. Un libro per cui le iporboli sono lecite, indimenticabile
  SirJo | Sep 4, 2017 |
I just finished Boris Pasternak’s novel, “Doctor Zhivago,” and I’m a bit wrecked. I had to lie down after finishing. This was a re-reading after too many years. It is one of my all-time favorites, so highest recommendation! I’d forgotten how excellent it is. I always enjoy a good nexus, and the nexus here is my love of history, especially the end of the Romanov Dynasty, Russian Revolution of 1917, and gorgeous writing. This translation is from 2014 and it is wonderful. Yes, the movie is sublime, but the book is even better. I want to run away to Siberia now. Forward my mail to Varykino. ( )
  RonTyler | Aug 11, 2017 |
Trails and tribulations of Yuri Zhivago, romantic and tragic, very hard to follow in places. ( )
  brakketh | Mar 11, 2017 |
“I don't think I could love you so much if you had nothing to complain of and nothing to regret. I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and of little value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them.”

The novel tells the story of Yury Zhivago, a man torn between his love for two women living through tumultuous upheavals of twentieth century Russia. Yury is the direct descendant of the wealthy Zhivago family but all the family wealth has been squandered by his feckless father. When his mother dies whilst he is still a young boy he is raised by his uncle. Later he studies medicine at a university in Moscow where he meets and marries Tonya by whom he has a son, Sasha.

After university Yury becomes a medical officer in the army and whilst in this capacity he meets Lara who is married to Pasha, a missing soldier whom she has come to find him leaving their daughter, Katya in the Urals. Yury has actually met Lara in passing twice before without ever really getting to know her. Yury is captivated by Lara, but he returns to his wife and son in Moscow.

However in Moscow the family struggle to find food and firewood so they decide to move east to the Urals to try an avoid the hardship. The journey is long and difficult, but on arrival they find plenty of food and wood. As life becomes easier for the family Yury takes to going to the nearest city, Yuryatin, to use the library. There, he meets Lara once more and they begin an affair. However, on his way home one day, he is captured by the partisan army, and forced to join them as a medical officer.

Yury is forced to remain with this force during the war between the Tsarist Whites and the Communist Reds. After several failed escape bids he finally succeeds and returns to Yuryatin and Lara. In the meantime Tonya and his family have been summoned back to Moscow before being exiled to Paris whilst Lara's husband, Pasha, is now wanted. After several months living together they learn that they are in danger of being imprisoned and Yury tricks Lara into taking her daughter even further east in the hope that they at least will escape persecution whilst he remains behind. Before long however, Yury returns to Moscow to find work.

In Moscow he begins living with Marina, the daughter of a family friend, and they have two children before he deserts them too. One day on his way to work he dies of a heart attack. Lara coincidentally has returned to Moscow shortly after Yury's death and attends his funeral and we get to hear some of what has happened to her and her daughter in the intervening years.

Now firstly I ought to admit that I have never seen the movie, basically because I've not really fancied it especially as I believe that it's in excess of three hours long, therefore I didn't really know what to expect other than what the blurb on the book says, "One of the greatest love stories ever told". However, it didn't really hit my expectations. I found it hard to take to Yury. Now whilst he appears to love both Tanya and Lara passionately he was also somewhat prone to abandoning them just as he also does later on to Marina. Also he seems somewhat vain somehow feeling himself superior to those around him or perhaps instead he prefers to surround himself with people inferior to him. On top of this is the usual fact that like most Russian novels this one is heavy in characters sometimes making it hard to keep track of who is whom and where they fit in the overall story. Now whilst I don't doubt that it deserves to be considered a classic it failed to really grip me and I found it a bit of a slog. As such I only found it OK. Personally I prefer Mikhail Sholokhov. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Feb 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
At the beginning of his novel Pasternak deliberately deprives the Zhivago family of its wealth, as a kind of symbolic prelude to the revolution that is to come. Like so much else in the novel it happens as arbitrarily as if in a fairy tale: the rich king suddenly becomes a poor beggar. “There was a Zhivago factory, a Zhivago bank, Zhivago buildings, a Zhivago necktie pin,…and at one time if you said ‘Zhivago’ to your sleigh driver in Moscow, it was as if you had said: ‘Take me to Timbuctoo!’ and he carried you off to a fairy tale kingdom.” This wealth of gold both symbolizes and contrasts with the wealth of life which will be the precious gift and possession of the son, the hero of the novel...

Tossed about like corks in the tumult, people are thrown up against one another in all sorts of unexpected ways and places. The ruthless partisan commander turns out to be the same young officer we used to know, rumored to have been killed in an attack on the Austrian entrenchments in 1916. The old Swiss lady walking past the trolley in which Zhivago has his fatal heart attack was the former governess of a noble Russian whom he had known briefly when they both worked at a hospital during the war. And this final coming together is in any case unknown to both parties, without apparent significance. And yet everything in life has significance, just because it is life, the thing itself, and not the abstract vision of how it ought to be for which the tyrants of ideology drench the world in blood. As Zhivago observes, you must live, you cannot always be making preparations for living—a sharp comment on the Communist promise that everything is going to be wonderful, some day in the future.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew York Review of Books, John Bayley (Mar 7, 1991)
Those who expect some kind of counter-revolutionary or anti-Soviet journalism from Dr Zhivago will be disappointed. It is not, in that sense, a political novel at all, although it is entirely about the effects of the revolution of 1905, the First World War, the 1917 revolution and the last war, upon a group of families of the upper-class intelligentsia and others. Pasternak is apolitical. His temper is Christian; Marxism is dismissed scornfully as half-baked folly and pomposity...

There is no cliche of invention in Pasternak; there is no eccentricity either. He has the eye of nature. Another refreshing quality is the freedom from the Anglo-American obsession with sex. In love, he is concerned with the heart. It is hard to imagine an English, French or American novel on Pasternak’s subject that would not be an orgy of rape or creeping sexuality.

Dr Zhivago is a great mound of minutely observed particulars and this particularity is, of course, expressive of his central attitude - his stand for private life and integrity.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew Yorker, V.S. Pritchett
Doctor Zhivago has no doubt been much read—like other books that promise to throw some light on the lives of our opposite numbers in the Soviet Union—out of simple curiosity. But it is not really a book about Russia in the sense that the newspaper accounts of it might lead the reader to expect; it is a book about human life, and its main theme is death and resurrection...

Doctor Zhivago will, I believe, come to stand as one of the great events in man’s literary and moral history. Nobody could have written it in a totalitarian state and turned it loose on the world who did not have the courage of genius. May his guardian angel be with him! His book is a great act of faith in art and in the human spirit.
added by SnootyBaronet | editNew Yorker, Edmund Wilson

» Add other authors (116 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pasternak, Borisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guerney, Bernard GuilbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harari, ManyaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hayward, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Konkka, JuhaniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prins, AaiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reschke, ThomasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scheepmaker, NicoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zveteremich, PietroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On they went, singing "Rest Eternal," and whenever they stopped, their feet, the horses, and the gusts of wind seemed to carry on their singing.
The fear known as spymania had reduced all speech to a single formal, predictable patter. The display of good intentions in discourse was not conductive to conversation.
After two or three stanzas that came pouring and several metaphors by which he was himself surprised, the work took possession of him, and he began to feel the presence of what is called inspiration. The correlation of the forces that govern artistic genius had as it were been turned upside down. It is no longer the man and the state of his soul, for which he is seeking expression, that are in the ascendancy now, but the language with which he seeks to express it.
The rising sun had cast the long dewy shadow of trees in loops over the park grounds. The shadow was not black but dark gray like wet felt. The heady fragrance of the morning seemed to come from this damp shadow on the ground, with strips of light in it like a girl’s fingers. Suddenly a streak of quicksilver, as shiny as the dew on the grass, flowed by him a few paces away. It flowed on and on and the ground did not absorb it. Then, with an unexpectedly sharp movement, it swerved aside and vanished.
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Book. DO NOT combine with film.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679774386, Paperback)

n celebration of the 40th anniversary of its original publication, here is the only paperback edition now available of the classic story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:44 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Yuri Zhivago, doctor and poet, lives and loves during the first three decades of 20th-century Russia.

» see all 16 descriptions

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