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The Last Summer

3.17 of 5 stars 3.17  ·  rating details  ·  87 ratings  ·  12 reviews
"Set in Russia during the winter of 1916, Serezha visits his married sister. Tired after a long journey, he falls into a restless sleep and half-remembers, half-dreams the incidents of the last summer of peace before the First World War 'when life appeared to pay heed to individuals'. As tutor in a wealthy, unsettled Moscow household he focuses his intense romanticism on M ...more
Paperback, 93 pages
Published 1959 by Penguin Books
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Emir Never
I read this almost a decade ago but Pasternak's voice reaches deeper than most authors. In this particular booklet, his prose reveals a poet writing in his element; the language is beautiful, magnifying the simple and leaving distinct impressions.
A strange novella: beautiful in places, with dream-like qualities and hence the reader is often a little lost too.

Serezha visits his sister and family in 1916 Russia. He is very tired and dreams/reminisces about his recent past, particularly his time as tutor to a rich boy and the lady's companion who was also employed there.

The meandering nature of the book is echoed by significant references to water, swimming and floating, including "washed in public notoriety" (and oxymoron?), "women... had
Graham Storrs
This was either very poorly translated, or poorly written, or both. It had the feel of a very young man trying too hard to be poetic and quite often missing the mark. The story itself was rambling and amounts to little more than a collection of observations and reminiscences, interesting in parts, but, on the whole, a bit tiresome.
This came as a disappointment to me after Doctor Zhivago. I really enjoyed some descriptions here, and the draft of the story that Serezha writes, but found myself quite lost in several places, maybe because it delved so deep into Serezha's mind that I didn't care enough (or simply was unable) to break down the metaphors. Perhaps my lack of knowledge about Russian history had something to do with it?

(If someone can share a link to a good analysis of this novella, I'd really appreciate it.)
Ik kan me alleen herinneren dat het boek met niet trok en ik de schrijfstijl niet aantrekkelijk vond.
Voor de rest heb ik over dit boek nergens iets opgeschreven en kan ik geen goede review schrijven.

Dec 23, 2013 Ethan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: owned
Pasternak's writing could be described more as a prose poem in contrast to Dr. Zhivago here, and he takes a lot from his practice as a poet with these beautifully shrouded scenes from the point of view of Serezha who, asleep on his sister's couch, dreams of the last summer before the outbreak of World War I as a young tutor in Russia. It was nice and sweet - hard to follow at times (as is the essence of dreams) but, the pictures Pasternak creates of young Serezha, his relationship with Arild and ...more
Richard Cripps
More poetry than prose: perhaps that is why it has such a variety of responses.
While the language is very beautiful, the narrative is extremely loose and the 'half-dreamt, half-remembered' style ends up becoming combative.
The second half ended up winning me over but by then the story was nearly finished and I left feeling unsatisfied.
Benjamin Farmer
Another five star read. A dreamy, sunlit, sweaty obsessive kind of book. I haven't read Doctor Zhivago, but i will . . . someday. Read this if you like Russian fevers. Dostoevsky on a good day.
Ignas Bednarczyk
This is a master novella,translated into English,the best I have read in 30 years by any author.The descriptions are full of direct visual evocation.
Oct 25, 2013 John added it
Shelves: abandoned, fiction
Abandoned at page 30 as couldn't get on with it - perhaps it was the translation?

Too many books and not enough time.
The Lau Azure Door
One of my favorite books i read when i was kinda young...during the hot humid summer nights at a pale light
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Борис Пастернак
Boris Leonidovich Pasternak was born in Moscow to talented artists: his father a painter and illustrator of Tolstoy's works, his mother a well-known concert pianist. Though his parents were both Jewish, they became Christianized, first as Russian Orthodox and later as Tolstoyan Christians. Pasternak's education began in a German Gymnasium in Moscow and was continued at the Universi
More about Boris Pasternak...
Doctor Zhivago Selected Poems The Poems of Doctor Zhivago Letters, Summer 1926 My Sister - Life

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