Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago

Boris Pasternak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was a very hard book to rate. At times I was thoroughly enthralled by Pasternak’s wandering thoughts and at other times I felt like I was listening to my Great Aunt Lilly [93’ish] talk about whatever subject came into her head.

The book jumped quite a bit, quite abruptly. Kind of felt like I was on a coal cart and never knew when the cart would jump the tracks to another completely new track.

But this was a lush story. The hope, the despair, the national psyche, how everyone was effected by their emotions was as much a part of the story as the actual plot.

Characters weren’t ones that you’d want to hang out with. Everyone was a revolutionary at the beginning, until they realized just want the Communists actually were. And the characters’ dream of a Soviet Utopia died in fire, famine and horror.

Zhivago himself was a sad, pathetic character and at the same time I commiserated with him and hated him. He was crushed by the reality of communism, he went into and out of relationships like they had no meaning [3 wives? and 2 of them he created families with? Only to abandon them?]. Let’s just say I wasn’t sad at the ending of Zhivago’s part of the story. In many ways it was better than he, Zhivago, deserved.

The ending to the book itself was so long and drawn out that I was ready for it to be done with after about 2 pages of the “Continuation” and “Epilogue”.

It definitely helped that I’ve read books by Ivan Goncharov, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky before this.

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