Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

Doctor Zhivago
This topic is about Doctor Zhivago
Specific List Books > Doctor Zhivago-Boris Pasternak

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Lisa James (sthwnd) | 352 comments Ok, who's read this? What did you think? I picked it up at a local thrift store for 50 cents, I get a lot of books there, it benefits the local battered women's shelter, but I digress.

I have never seen the movie either, but the book's a TON thinner than War & Peace, & has to be a better story than Crime & Punishment. I just can't make myself actually START it, because the Russian books are always a bit of a slog for me.

This is why I'm asking for opinions before I try it...

Masanobu | 110 comments I have read it and liked it, but it is hard work. I haven't read W&P or C&P, so I can't compare.

Knowledge of 20th-century Russian history is really useful to enjoy Doctor Zhivago, since it is a very political novel.

Lisa James (sthwnd) | 352 comments Well, I jumped into it, & yeah, it is hard going. Overall, so far the story's not bad, although I really felt for the young girl who ended up in an affair with what I can only presume was also her mother's lover. What a triangle. No wonder she went crazy. I shall slog on!

Jennifer W | 218 comments I read it last autumn and didn't like it as much as I had hoped. The book is very dreamy and lots of things happen off the page that you have to fill in the blanks yourself. After I read it, I watched the movie and loved that. I think I got a lot more out of the movie because I had read the book. I'm glad I was able to cross Zhivago off the list of books I've read, but bummed that I didn't enjoy it more.

Lisa James (sthwnd) | 352 comments Yeah, I slogged my way through it, & found that the political stuff really sidelined me. I understand that was the background of the story, & that the people's lives revolved around the politics, wars, etc. of the time period, but I could have done with more of the actual dynamics between the characters & less of the extraneous junk.

Jennifer W | 218 comments You read it pretty quickly for a "slog"! It took me like 2 months to get through it! :)

message 7: by George P. (last edited Sep 07, 2016 09:24PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

George P. | 967 comments Mod
For anyone else who wants to read Zhivago, you would likely find the online Sparksnotes info on it helpful to understand who the supporting characters are and a summary of the action by chapter. Up to you if you want to read the chapter info before reading the chapter- this will tend to "spoil" the plot, but you will likely understand what's going on better. Or you can read the chapter and then the notes.
The book was written primarily for a Russian and European audience of about 50 years ago, who would have been familiar with the political background. In a nutshell, there was a czarist government, some rebellious upheaval, then World War 1, then a LOT of rebellious upheaval, leading to the real Russian revolution.

Alana (alanasbooks) | 125 comments Most everyone I know who's read it loved it, but I honestly didn't care for it. I was bored and was glad when it was over. But I recognize that I'm in the minority on this one.

Nicola | 770 comments It didn't thrill me that much and I had a bit of a ponder as to why not seeing as it's such a famous classic and I'm typically a classic book lover. Not having an indepth knowledge of Russian history didn't help but I also didn't connect with the characters and the writing style itself.

Bryan--Pumpkin Connoisseur (theindefatigablebertmcguinn) | 628 comments I guess I'm part of that minority that wasn't overwhelmed by Zhivago/. I think it was one of the first books to come out of the Soviet Union that said some unflattering things about the revolution, and I think some of it's popularity rested on that. Plus the film was a huge hit at the time, and that surely helped.

back to top