Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Yep, I finished it.  The book club finished it.  Well, most of
the book club finished it.  And of the ones who did, two said
they “were glad they read it”.  When someone says that–along
the lines of  ‘I wouldn’t have chosen it, but I’m glad we read it’
you know the book is no thrill!

Let’s talk a minute about book covers.  The book I read was a
secondhand one from a local bookstore.

Doctor Zhivago edition 010







One of the book group had snared this beauty as a library copy:

Doctor Zhivago


And this edition has the favored translation
by Pevear and Volokonsky.

(My edition’s translation is by
Max Hayward and Manya Harari.)





But I think my favorite cover is the old black and white original
published in Italy by Feltrimelli,   which tells the whole story—
snow and a sled . . .

Doctor Zhivago edition 002




Doctor Zhivago edition 003


Those of you who follow my blog have read about my early
battles with Doctor Z –see Trouble in River City.   I won’t
repeat those.

So what can I say?
Boy meets girl.  Boy marries girl.  Boy notices another girl.
Boy runs away with other girl.

I’m never in favor of that sort of thing–especially when there
are children involved (there were).  But everyone except me
seems to be ga-ga over Lara.  I didn’t get that feeling of romance.
In fact, I didn’t think the characterization of any of the people
seemed strong enough for me to care very much.

The story did have a thread, but the writing was uneven and only
occasionally was easy or, at least, comfortable reading.  Once (once)
I laughed out loud.  That’s not much of an endorsement of a book
559 pages long!  Still, I read it, learned something of Russian
history, and can check it off (sort of Russian sound there, said
briskly “check it off”) on many Good Reading lists.

After I finished the book my granddaughter and I watched the
movie.  Much better!!  I think it truly is a case where the movie
is better than the book.

Yes, it won the Nobel Prize in 1958.  But rumor has it that that
vote might have been tinkered with a little bit by the CIA who
wanted to influence negative feelings toward Russia.  Who am I
to say?

Pasternak follows his novel with a group of poems that “Yurii”
wrote and I especially like ‘Winter Night’.  The first verse:

“It snowed and snowed, the whole world over,
Snow swept the world from end to end.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.”

Let’s end with that snowy cozy thought.  And, even
though I didn’t love it, I’m glad I read it!

I grudgingly give it 3 buttons:

three antique mother-of-pearl buttons with carved decoration ©booksandbuttons

three antique mother-of-pearl buttons with carved decoration ©booksandbuttons


Share Button
This entry was posted in book club, book review, books, literature. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

  1. Stefanie says:

    Ooh, I do like that old cover best, very pretty! Have you seen the movie? And if not, will you be watching it or have you had enough? 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.