Doctor Zhivago Author:Boris Pasternak The only truly great novel to come out of post-revolutionary Russia significantly appears first in translation, without the approval of the Russian Communist Part censors. But this sensational aspect should not obscure the fact that "Doctor Zhivago" is above all a stupendously rich and moving book. Like "War and Peace," it evokes an historica... more »ly crucial period in terms of a large variety of characters whose destinies are interwoven-railwaymen, farmers, intellectuals, merchants, lawyers, professors, students, soldiers, the well-to-do and the destitute.
Zhivago, a physician and poet, is the central figure. Through his experiences the reader witnesses the outbreak and the consequences of the Revolution: army revolts, irrational killings, starvation epidemics, Party inquisition. In an epic train ride from Moscow to the Ural Mountains-a journey that takes weeks-Zhivago transports his family to what he hopes is shelter in obscurity. Actually, he lands them all in the chaos and cruelty of strife between Whites and Reds. These are not times for a domestic idyll or emotional bliss, and Zhivago sees man's simplest aspirations to a normal human life hopelessly frustrated.
Pasternak's superbly evocative style is equal to the grandeur of his theme. "Storm" is the recurring key word of his book-the storm of war, of revolution, of human passions, of nature. With awe and terror he recreates modern history's most titanic effort to bring forth a new world from a deliberately created chaos.
The book is crowded with scenes and people of unforgettable impact: the eerieness of partisan camps in the ice and snow of Siberia's primeval forests; the trains crowded with deportees; apartment houses overrun by rats; cities starving and freezing; villages burned and depopulated. And woven into this background is the story of Zhivago's love for tender and beautiful Lara, constantly pursued, found, and lost again, the human symbol of life's sweetness and joy.« less