Catching up on Classics (and lots more!) discussion

Doctor Zhivago
This topic is about Doctor Zhivago
148 views
New School Classics- 1900-1999 > Doctor Zhivago: Chapters 13-16 Spoilers

Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Trisha (new) - added it

Trisha | 492 comments Post your comments for the final chapters here.


message 2: by Trisha (new) - added it

Trisha | 492 comments This was a tough read, so if you came out as the champion and finished the book, please let us know here! Great job to everyone who finished - and to those who are still working through it. Hang in there, you can do it!!


Morgan (morganmn) I almost finished. I have to say, honestly, I left the poems for another day. I was a little disappointed and worn out by the end of the book, but I did get something out of it. Pretty typical for me and Russian literature.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Curious what everyone came away with after reading Dr Zhivago.


message 5: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9700 comments Mod
Here is a review that I really enjoyed:
http://www.robert-morgan.com/essays/t...


message 6: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9700 comments Mod
Any one this far in with me? How would you describe the differences between the relationship of Yury and Lara and that of Yury and Tonya?


message 7: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9700 comments Mod
What do you think of Tonya's letter to Yury when the family is exiled and she tells Yury that he does not love her? Is Tonya correct?


message 8: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 5012 comments Mod
It’s been six months since I read this but from what I remember about the letter from Tonya to Yury is that it was more of an acknowledgement of reality. Reality, the world has changed and individual freedom has suffered. Reality, she and the rest of the family must leave Russia forever. Reality, that should Yury be alive, he is on the far side of Russia with little or no chance of coming to Moscow or Paris. Reality, that theirs was a love that was never deeply romantic or passionate. She now understands their love was roughly akin to the love between brother and sister. It grew from family connections and closeness, from being a part of the same social structure and from strong family motivation. Tonya’s mother always saw them as married and happy, and her death bed request forced the issue. When Tonya sees the truth of their lives together and the impending permanent separation she tells Yury that she understands that he loves Lara differently than he loves her. This letter from Tonya is letting Yury know that she OK with this new reality, she accepts the fact that he loves Lara and she wishes him happiness. Or maybe I’m wrong.


message 9: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9700 comments Mod
Hey, I finished and it is worth your time. I am sure that if I had a better understanding of Russian history that I would have had an easier time, but this novel is so much more than what I thought was love story.


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

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments DONE !!!! Okay, with one of the translations, not the other ;-). Or the poems.

Finished the Hayward/Harari translation last night. *Almost* done with the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. Will finish in a couple hours (it's due at the library today).

All excepting the poems, which I plan to read slowly, using the Davie volume of translations, which includes a commentary on the cultural background of Russia, and how that, and the poems, fit into the novel.


*whew* BIG BOOK. Really excellent. Lots of philosophy, history in there. I don't think this is a love story at all. I think this is a philosophical war novel packed with history, with a few different love stories threaded through it. And I think the main character might have been 'War'.


message 11: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9700 comments Mod
War and the desolation of war upon the people.


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

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments yes ...


message 13: by Alexw (new) - rated it 1 star

Alexw | 60 comments I just "finished" this book but not the poem look forward to discussion- Thanks !!


message 14: by Pink (last edited Feb 18, 2017 07:35AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink | 6554 comments Alexw wrote: "I just "finished" this book but not the poem look forward to discussion- Thanks !!"

Ouch and I notice that you rated it only 1 star! I plan on reading it next month, so I'll comment with my thoughts then :)


message 15: by Katy, New School Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katy (kathy_h) | 9700 comments Mod
Oh don't give up on it. I really enjoyed this book.


message 16: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 5012 comments Mod
I agree with Kathy, if it's already a planned read stick with it, I thought it was great.


message 17: by Loretta (new)

Loretta | 2670 comments Pink wrote: "Alexw wrote: "I just "finished" this book but not the poem look forward to discussion- Thanks !!"

Ouch and I notice that you rated it only 1 star! I plan on reading it next month, so I'll comment ..."


I haven't read the book either Pink, but you should really read it for yourself and form your own opinion of the book. If I had listened to someone else I would have missed out on a fabulous book, (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), because he said it was horrible but I loved it! :)


message 18: by Pink (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink | 6554 comments Oh I'll definitely still be reading it, I think it's a buddy read for March, if anyone else is still planning on reading?! I have my copy from the library already!

I don't mind if other people hate a book, it doesn't put me off, as we all like different things. It's good to discuss our thoughts afterwards and see where there's agreement or a difference of opinion :)


message 19: by Bob, Short Story Classics (last edited Dec 31, 2017 10:21PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bob | 5012 comments Mod
Our January 2018 Revisit the Shelf Reread is Doctor Zhivago, I was first read by the group in February 2011 and reread in January 2014.


Melanti | 2384 comments Finally finished!

I wasn't a big fan of this one.

In one of the other threads, someone compared it to a movie. That seems about right to me. Not just in the short scenes, but there were those long sections of dialogue without breaks.

Yuri's kind of a scumbag, IMO.

I might have liked it more if I'd read the other translation, but P&V's translation felt really choppy to me. I think I would have far preferred the Hayward version.


Lotte | 196 comments Absolutely agreed with Yuri being a scumbag. While reading I was torn apart by the description of his and Lara's romance, which felt so ... pure, and events in my circle of friends, which felt less pure to say the least.

Now I have finished the story, I feel like Pasternak didn't condemn Yuri enough.

Luckily, the novel was a great deal more about Russia and the revolution than about the romance. Books like these offer the best way to learn something about history. Absolutely loved it, also because of the poetic sentences. I didn't care too much about the poetry at the end, though. In my edition, they were translated by different translators, so that might have had something to do with it.


Christine | 1217 comments I just finished. This was a tough book for me to get through, but in the end I'm glad I read it. About Yuri... In normal circumstances, I would agree that he behaved like a scumbag. In the horrible circumstances the people in this novel lived through, though, I have a hard time casting judgement on him. I still feel like the author completely left out the development of Yuri and Lara's relationship, so I don't really feel like this was a love story. I felt like it was more a story about the hardships these people endured, and more broadly about Russia itself. I have never seen the film, but I'm eager to watch it now to see what parts of the story the filmmakers chose to focus on.

At the end I switched back to reading the Kindle edition I purchased, and this edition doesn't have any poetry at the end. The audio edition I'd been listening to might have it, but honestly I don't know if I have the energy to search for it. I think I am going to just call this one done!


Melanti | 2384 comments Christine wrote: "The audio edition I'd been listening to might have it, but honestly I don't know if I have the energy to search for it. I think I am going to just call this one done! ..."

You have the P&V audio from Audible, right?

It does have poetry at the end.


Christine | 1217 comments Melanti wrote: "You have the P&V audio from Audible, right?

It does have poetry at the end. "


Yes, that's the audio that I have. Maybe I will find time to listen to it. It's very annoying that the Kindle edition didn't include it, since most editions seem to have it.


message 25: by Pink (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink | 6554 comments I'm flagging with this and needed a break so I've come to complain here! Melanti and Christine, I have similar feelings to what you've posted above. I have a couple of chapters left but I'm frustrated and worn out of reading this at the moment. For me, the book was strongest at the start and the more I read the more disappointed I'm becoming with it.


message 26: by Pink (last edited Feb 19, 2018 05:51AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink | 6554 comments Still frustrated, nobodies actions make any sense! Not Yury or Lara's affair and now Strelnikov has explained himself to Yury before his quick demise. Why! I find it so infuriating! Oh and third wife! I'm so nearly done with this, in more ways than one.


Kathleen | 4089 comments I finished! Still reading the poems, which I don't like at all so far. But the book ... after a very very hard slog through the middle, it completely won me over in the end.

I'm still working out my thoughts, but reading Bob's comment above about Tonya's letter and reality--I think this idea of reality is key to Yury's character. Even Lara says how he can't face it, can't make decisions. I think he was meant to be this lost soul, sort of a contrast to the harsh, practical realities of his time. (Made me think of Pierre in War and Peace.) I think we're meant to see this world through his eyes, not see him as a hero.

An idea for any future group or buddy reads: maybe break this down even more. I know I read this way too slow, but it's a dense book, and shorter sections being discussed within each thread might make it easier to have a conversation about it? Maybe discussions around what's going on, instead of chapters. Just a thought.

Congratulations to all of us who made it through this--it was a tough one!


Rosemarie | 1579 comments Kathleen, that is how I saw Yuri too. He is a lost soul, unequipped to deal with the chaos of those times in Russia.


message 29: by Pink (new) - rated it 3 stars

Pink | 6554 comments Well done Kathleen! I'm still processing it myself. For me the book never quite redeemed itself in the end. Most of the enjoyment came in the first half of the book and after that I just got more and more frustrated. I can see the similarity with Pierre in War and Peace too.


back to top