Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I'm a big lover of Russian Literature. Right now I'm trying to work my way through a bunch of Russian books that I've been collection over the years. Doctor Zhivago is one of those books that has been sitting on my shelf for awhile and I keep meaning to read.
I really enjoyed the writing style. I wrote down a lot of favorite quotes and was generally impressed with Pasternak's ability to turn what seems a filler paragraph into something very special with just a few words. The love between Yurii and Laura was beautifully written.
However I did have some problems with this book. I feel like a history lesson on the Russian Revolution would have made things a lot clearer. Or perhaps if I had an edition with better footnotes. My other big problem was that there were just too many coincidences. There are just so many ways that Laura and Yurii's lives dovetail that instead of coming across as "fate" it just seems like I'm being bashed over the head with the whole idea that the two of them were meant to be together. And maybe this is a generational or cultural thing, I'm not sure.
I'm also not sure if this novel stood up to all the hype I've heard about it. I have never seen the movie and I think that I always just thought this was a sad love story. I didn't really know that it had so much to do with the aftermath of the revolution. My expectations were just a little off.
That aside, I was glad to read a Russian novel that is post-revolution. Most of what I have read is set prior to the revolution and I want to branch out more. Despite my problems, I did enjoy this book, but I don't think it's in the same class as Anna Karenina.
"Freedom! Real freedom, not just talk about it, freedom, dropped out of the sky, freedom beyond our expectations, freedom by accident, through a misunderstanding." 146
"How well she does everything! She reads not as if reading were the highest activity, but as if it were the simplest possible thing, a thing that even animals could do. As if she were carrying water from a well, or peeling potatoes." 291