Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Doctor Zhivago

I probably watched Doctor Zhivago three or four times in high school and college and never could remember the plot, beyond the basics about Omar Sharif being in love with two women – his earnest wife Tanya and the elusive, flawed, and beautiful Lara. Other than that, it was all snow, trains, battles, furry hats, theme music, and Julie Christie's doe eyes.

The book is the same, but without the balaclava music or Julie Christie.

There is a chronological order to it, but with big gaps. Some threads take so long to tie together I had forgotten where they started. And in between scenes of snow, trains, trains stopped by snow, trains buried by snow, battles, battles in snow, battles on trains, and more of the same, were rambling discourses on religion and political philosophy. And I thought the movie was slow!

The themes are grand and the writing, even in translation, is beautiful. Boris Pasternak won the Nobel Prize because of the book, although the Soviet government forced him to renounce the honor. There are many reasons to read Doctor Zhivago and many reasons to enjoy it. But it is a long and often frustrating read.


If you would like your review of this book listed here, please leave a comment with a link and I will add it.


I read this one for the Eastern Europe Reading Challenge, the TBR Pile Challenge, the Mt. TBR Challenge, and the Off The Shelf Challenge. Since Pasternak won the Nobel Prize, I also made some progress on that list.

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