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March - Doctor Zhivago > Book Discussion (Spoilers)

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message 1: by Ashleigh (new)

Ashleigh (ashleighsbookshelf) | 4 comments Hope it's okay to start this as I thought it'd be good to have a place to discuss the book as a whole. If it's not, feel free to re-purpose this or redirect it or whatever.

But, I finished the book last night and came out of it feeling a little "meh" for want of a better word! The writing is absolutely gorgeous, but I just felt the dialogue was disjointed and yeah, wasn't my favourite unfortunately.

Would love to hear your thoughts on the book as a whole - and any points you'd like to discuss! Hoping I'm not alone in my feelings haha.


message 2: by Yasza (new)

Yasza (myyasza) | 3 comments Just finished it! I’m Russian and read it in Russian, obviously. The Russian Revolutions aren’t an easy topic to think about, especially when you know that your ancestors were getting through this foodless, lawless, senseless time. I can’t imagine how people managed to live under these conditions, when everyone in this enormous country was so messed up, when there was nothing but chaos and constant fear.
When I read about revolution I’m not sure if it were a step forward or a step back, if any Tzar was worse than what happened during the first half of 20th century in Russia and if there was any other way around. I’m not a historian or a politician, so these are just the feelings I have after reading stories like this.
Yuriatin - the city where the main action takes place - is based on my home town, the city I live in today - Perm - and that makes all these horrors even closer and more tangible.
I didn’t enjoy «Doctor Zhivago» as a love story, I loved it as a historical fiction though, it was very educational and heart-breaking. It is a dark, hopeless, beautiful and definitely traumatic read. It is a history.
I have a strong feeling that I didn’t get half of Pasternak’s ideas and this book should be studied more thoroughly.


message 3: by Ashleigh (new)

Ashleigh (ashleighsbookshelf) | 4 comments I think that much like War and Peace this book would have benefited from me knowing a little more about Russian history. I think something I'm going to have to do is maybe read a bit more on the subject over a few years, have more of a grounding in the actual circumstances, and reread the books to get the most out of them. I imagine that as historical fiction this book would be so much better with more knowledge on the subject (of Russian History).

I definitely didn't get half of Pasternak's ideas - in fact I probably didn't understand more than half of his political musings. I got enough from it to understand why this wasn't published in Russia for some time!

I don't know if it was the translation, or if it is the same in the original text, but I found the dialogue to be quite stilted and forced. When it was prose, and focusing solely on the surroundings or observations I was really enjoying it - and then someone spoke and it felt almost out of place.


message 4: by Yasza (new)

Yasza (myyasza) | 3 comments I too sometimes was bored with the dialogues and the whole love part of the book, it was too much for me with other things going on.
It was a huge scandal, this one, Pasternak was nominated for the Nobel Prize and couldn’t get it because he was threatened to be expelled from the USSR if he had accepted it. He couldn’t get his fees either and had nothing to live on, as he was deprived of any opportunity to earn money in the USSR. Before “Doctor Zhivago” Pasternak was a very popular poet in soviet Russia, the government wanted him to work for the regime and he just dumped this book on them knowing that it would end his career and maybe life.


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