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Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
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Doctor Zhivago (1957)

by Boris Pasternak

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8,359112600 (3.87)1 / 565
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English (101)  French (3)  Yiddish (2)  Italian (2)  Hebrew (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (111)
Showing 1-5 of 101 (next | show all)
More arduous than I had hoped. In my opinion it's better at history than it is at romance so it was also a little disappoint from that respect. Certainly not Tolstoy and ultimately underwhelming. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
The quote on the front cover of my copy hailing this as "the greatest love story of all time" is, quite frankly, a lie. This is the story of a man who can't commit and uses political circumstance to do his dirty work for him. As a lead character, he left me very empty and unable to care about him.

Having said that, I actually enjoyed the book. I can't put my finger on why... Lara made me want to slap her with her clunky dialogue ("don't you think?"), Antipov's character is disappointingly washed over, and the tangents into political and religious soliloquies grated on me just the way the farming and politics ones in Anna Karenina did.

But it was readable, the story unfolded well and my interest was never lost. A lukewarm read. ( )
  SadieBabie | Jun 23, 2018 |
I definitely went into this book with all the wrong expectations. I haven't seen the film, but what I've heard made me believe I'll be diving into a timeless romance with a whole lot of Russian history in the background.

Yuri and Lara's story, however, is 25% of the book at most, and in fact Pasternak uses this novel to ponder history, communism, philosophy and to offer his views and opinions, and a healthy dose of social commentary. I will definitely re-read this book at some point with the right mindset.

Basically, I'm pretty certain it wasn't the book's fault that I was underwhelmed. The prose didn't blow me away either, but I'm not sure my translation is a good one.

I've read and loved several books written by Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and I thought I would end up loving this one as well. About halfway through I realised, I just wanted to get it done and over with.

I couldn't connect with the characters and felt like they weren't developed enough. Essentially, the reader is being fast forwarded through Yuri's life, never staying in any place for longer than necessary.

I recommend Doctor Zhivago to anyone interested in Russia and who doesn't mind that both characters and plot come secondary. ( )
  Vinjii | Jun 18, 2018 |
Sigh. I sort of hate myself for not liking this book. I really wanted to love it, but I could not get into it and I struggled to the end. Hugely disappointing. I will reread someday and hopefully have a better experience. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
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. ( )
  TheReadingMermaid | Nov 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 101 (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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First words
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.
Quotations
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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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