Release Date: 4th July 2003
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Add it: Goodreads
In celebration of the 40th anniversary of its original publication, here is the only paperback edition now available of the classic story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.
‘Why do you keep putting yourself through this?’
‘I don’t know, I have issues.’
A conversation I have with myself every time I attempt expansive classics like this one. Russian literature is not easy to wade through, you guys.
Okay so, Doctor Zhivago follows the timeline of the Russian Revolution and like, unless you know the ins and outs of that part of history this is not the easiest book to understand. Pasternak’s historical knowledge is impressive but seriously, the political machinations of the revolution, complete with all the different party groups and how they interrelate is so hard to follow. Plus, since a lot of what happens rests on your ability to comprehend the complicated history behind the revolution you might find yourself, like me, wondering what the hell is happening literally all of the time. And obviously because this is Russian literature there are SO MANY characters to try to keep track of, and it doesn’t help that every character has multiple names that they are referred to as throughout the novel.
Also, there’s like supposed to be a love story in this book but there isn’t. Don’t believe the promises in the blurb and on the cover because there is no epic romance – the main love story doesn’t even happen until you’re nearly three quarters of the way through and when it does it heavily relies on your definition of ‘romance’. I was not even remotely invested.
This is kind of a short review but I really don’t have a lot to say. Doctor Zhivago is not a bad read but it does appeal to a niche audience, I think. If you’re interested in, or have a background in Russian history and literature definitely give this book a go but if like me, you’re just a casual reader it might be better to look for a book that is less taxing.
A Classic about War
too many 510