2022 Reading Challenge discussion

Doctor Zhivago
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ARCHIVE 2020 > Doctor Zhivago: Mid-Reading Discussion

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message 1: by Winter, Group Reads (new) - added it

Winter (winter9) | 4597 comments This is where we will discuss the book after we start reading it in June.

Please mark spoilers by typing [spoiler] before the spoiler and [/spoiler] after it and replacing the []s with < and >


Carmen | 4136 comments Wow, I started reading it today and I'm overwhelmed with names...
I've just finished chapter 2: Yura has just met Lara.


message 3: by Carmen (last edited Jun 03, 2020 02:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carmen | 4136 comments I've ended chapter 6: The years go by but it seems to me it's always winter and snowing 🌫☃️


Sean (fordest) | 242 comments The names are a little tough and they just keep coming and coming. And the winters are always rough. It does seem like they go from winter to winter. Pasternak uses the word "autumnal" many times, but it really is the winters that you seem to "feel"


Bailey ✰ (baileyktw) | 353 comments I 100% agree with what you all have said so far! The names were super confusing at first but once I got a little further into it, I sort of got a handle on them. What also helped me was making a family tree for the main characters so that I can reference back to it when I forget who someone is. I’m also glad to not be the only one who felt like it’s constantly winter in this story; I’m currently in chapter 9 and it definitely feels like there’s only been winters so far.


Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments Yes, the Russian system of names is always confusing to me. I also recently purchased a copy of Adolescence of Zhenya Luvers which is a hardback published in 1961 with library binding. The old library card is still in the back! :) Anyway, I read the introduction which discusses Pasternak's use of language and now as I'm reading Doctor Zhivago I am picking up much more on his metaphors and similes and their somewhat abstract nature. It's just made it a bit more enjoyable to me. He was mainly a poet after all...


Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments This book was first published in Italy in 1957 from a manuscript smuggled out of Russia. It was not published in Russia until 1988.


Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments Winter is what I remember most weather-wise. Although as I recall, (view spoiler)


message 9: by Carmen (last edited Jun 11, 2020 10:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carmen | 4136 comments I finished it yesterday!
I didn't know snow can be describe in so many ways!
(view spoiler)


message 10: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments Sean wrote: "The names are a little tough and they just keep coming and coming. And the winters are always rough. It does seem like they go from winter to winter. Pasternak uses the word "autumnal" many times, ..."

I hope someone else on this thread may be able to educate us a bit more, but I do know that in Russia there are many "names" for one person and many ways to demonstrate your relationship to that person by the name you select in referring to him/her. For me, a monolingual typical US person, it is very confusing but as I've read more and encountered various cultural ways of naming people, it has become easier. But it still represents a challenge to me in this book.


message 11: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments Carmen wrote: "I finished it yesterday!
I didn't know snow can be describe in so many ways!"


Ha! Ha! I have read that indigenous Alaskans have many different words for snow, as many as 50! A Wikipedia article describes this phenomenon. Whether there are as many as 50 is debatable, depending upon which of the indigenous languages you use.

What I have discovered is that over the 50 years since I first read this at age 16, I had forgotten much of what occurred within the last 50 pages of the book! :( And having watched the movie at least 4 times in those years, my memory was of the movie and not the book! Actually, I have been very surprised at my reaction to the book now compared to what I remember feeling about it as a teen. However, watching the movie immediately after reading the book evidently cemented the movie's images in my mind, especially at the end.

Like you, I find that (view spoiler)


message 12: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments I did not realize how much the movie emphasized and explained (view spoiler). Though maybe that is just me and others did pick up on it from simply reading the book. I also felt as if the movie was good at depicting (view spoiler) Though that could simply reflect the differences between the two settings/environments.


message 13: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments I just discovered that a relative of Pasternak's has published a book, Lara: The Untold Love Story and the Inspiration for Doctor Zhivago, that supposedly has additional information from Pasternak's notes, etc., regarding this book and Zhivago's writing overall. I think it would be interesting to read that as well.


message 14: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments And, according to the Wikipedia article about this book,(view spoiler) What was your impression?


message 15: by Sean (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sean (fordest) | 242 comments I had the same impression you did. Wonder how we missed that.


message 16: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments Sean wrote: "I had the same impression you did. Wonder how we missed that."

I wonder if it isn't just incorrect! :)


message 17: by Sean (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sean (fordest) | 242 comments Lynn wrote: "Sean wrote: "I had the same impression you did. Wonder how we missed that."

I wonder if it isn't just incorrect! :)"


Wikipedia incorrect? haha


message 18: by Lynn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lynn (book_music_lvr) | 1518 comments Sean wrote: "Lynn wrote: "Sean wrote: "I had the same impression you did. Wonder how we missed that."

I wonder if it isn't just incorrect! :)"

Wikipedia incorrect? haha"


Yeah, I know. Unbelievable, huh? :)


message 19: by Carmen (last edited Jun 12, 2020 01:46AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carmen | 4136 comments Lynn wrote: "Carmen wrote: "I finished it yesterday!
I didn't know snow can be describe in so many ways!"

Ha! Ha! I have read that indigenous Alaskans have many different words for snow, as many as 50! A Wiki..."


Well, I'm from Galicia (northwestern Spain) and in my native language, Galician, we have as many as 100 words for rain ,
or so they say, so I can understand Alaskans perfectly, LOL
I totally agree with you on the "spoiler part" too. (view spoiler)


message 20: by Carmen (last edited Jun 12, 2020 01:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carmen | 4136 comments Lynn wrote: "And, according to the Wikipedia article about this book,[spoilers removed] What was your impression?"

Obviously it's not corret.
(view spoiler)


message 21: by Ed (new)

Ed | 6 comments So I have to say that I don't like this book at all. I get what Pasternak tried to do with it but the experience of having to think 5 minutes to understand who are the characters in the scene than to understand when the action is taking place is not pleasant. I don't know if I'm going to continue as I don't find the characters or the story particularly interestings. Too bad :(


message 22: by Heather (new)

Heather Dufield | 82 comments I'm pushing through. I've finally hit the 200 page mark, but I'm not really enjoying the story too much.


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