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

Doctor Zhivago
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Specific List Books > Doctor Zhivago-Boris Pasternak

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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.
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/zhivago/
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.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


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.


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