Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: Doctor Zhivago

Doctor Zhivago, Boris Pasternak
1.21.11 - 2.10.11
"Art is inconceivable without risk, without inner sacrifice; freedom and boldness of imagination can be won only in the process of work" --Pasternak, speech

While reading the introduction, it talked about his style and how he followed Tolstoy's style of the novel, to create a concept of Russian life. it makes his novel make much more sense than I think it otherwise would have had I not read the introduction. The seemingly random jumping around feels less random and more intentional.

I haven't read the poetry yet. I feel like I missed a lot of poignant, essential foreshadowing. Such as the moment with the candle on the table--I didn't make the connection that it was the same candle for Zhivago and Larissa. I think if I had caught more of those subtle moments where their lives intercrossed, the romance would have been much less surprising. I remembered at one point wondering if their's was to be a great romance, but dismissing it. They both have happy marriages. Maybe Larya's less so, because of the distance her husband puts between the two after she reveals her secret, but Zhivago and his wife are two halves to a whole. Interesting concept. And Zhivago had three "wives" total--the first, his other half. The second, his great romance. The third, a nice woman with whom he pops out two children.

I want to reread, but I think I'll wait a few months until it is winter again. Call me bizarre and obsessive, but I think wintertime is the best for Russian novels.

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