Reading Journal

What I'm reading

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Some people say this is their favorite novel. I decided to try it because it's set during the Russian Revolution, and I'd heard the CIA was even involved with getting it published during the Cold War.

My favorite parts of the book were his descriptions of nature and his mockery of early Communism.

Lara walked along the tracks following a path worn by pilgrims and then turned into the fields. Here she stopped and, closing her eyes, took a deep breath of the flower-scented air of the broad expanse around her. It was dearer to her than her kin, better than a lover, wiser than a book. For a moment she rediscovered the purpose of her life. She was here on earth to grasp the meaning of its wild enchantment and to call each thing by its right name, or, if this were not within her power, to give birth out of love for life to successors who would do it in her place.

A couple passages making fun of the revolution:

This was the time to prepare for the cold weather, to store up food and wood. But in those days of the triumph of materialism, matter had become a disembodied idea, and the problems of alimentation and fuel supply took the place of food and firewood.

I'll admit that you are Russia's liberators, the shining lights, that without you it would be lost, sunk in misery and ignorance, and I still don't give a damn for any of you, I don't like you and you can all go to the devil.

My least favorite part was, sadly, Dr. Zhivago himself. I couldn't forgive him for leaving his wife and child to have an affair with Lara, however torrid it might be. Since I disliked him, that soured me on the book as a whole.


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