Monday, October 15, 2012

Teaser Tuesday: Doctor Zhivago

Once or twice already, Lara had stopped irresolutely and hesitated on the threshold of the drawing room, hoping that Komarovsky, who sat facing the ballroom, would notice her. But he kept his eyes of his cards, which he held fanlike in his left hand, and either really did not see her or pretended not to.
-- Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

The book has all the sweeping grandeur of the movie, with the snow, trains, fur hats, tortured love affairs, and soulful looks. The above passage is typical of the dramatic plot.

But what is understandably missing from the movie (at least, as I recall) are long passages of crypto-religious, philosophical ramblings, usually from the mouth or pen of Zhivago's uncle, sometimes from Zhivago himself. This passage describes the general theme, but the rambling passages are much longer -- or at least feel that way.
In the books [Nikolai Nikolaevich] published there in Russian and in translation, he developed his long-standing notion of history as a second universe, erected by mankind in response to the phenomenon of death with the aid of the phenomena of time and memory. The soul of these books was a new understanding of Christianity, their direct consequence a new understanding of art. 

I'm reading this one for the TBR Pile Challenge and the Eastern Europe Reading Challenge.  Since Pasternak won the Nobel Prize because of Doctor Zhivago, I will also make some progress on that list.

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading, where you can find the official rules for this weekly event. 


  1. I recall being swept away by the movie many years ago. From memory it was a very long movie though so hate to think what it would have been like had they not filtered out those rambling passages ;)

  2. I remember loving this movie as a teenager but, although I've tried several times over the years to read the book, I've been unsuccessful in doing so. Those passages you refer to are just deal-breakers for me.

  3. Interesting teaser. This is one of those books I've heard about but never picked up. Might have to change that now.

    My teaser can be found here.

  4. I read this one a long, long time ago...and loved it!

    I was going through my Russian Novel Period, as I characterized it.

    Time to reread?


  5. One of my favorite movies, never read the book.

  6. I absolutely loved the Dr Zhivago movie when I saw it. I've had this book on my TBR pile since forever, but it seems like a very dense read, something that I wish I had more time for, but don't :/

    Anyway, great teaser! Hope you enjoy the rest of the book!

  7. It has been a long time since I read that and I never saw the movie. Here is my teaser:

  8. Interesting teaser! I've heard of this book but didn't know anything about it. Thanks! :)

  9. GREAT BOOK..thanks for the teaser.

    Silver's Reviews

  10. If you're not too far into it, you might want to switch translations. I read this same version with my book club back in January and we all hated it. We heard the previous translation was preferable. The new one is more accurate but lost a lot of the poetry.


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