In celebration of the 40th anniversary of its original publication, here is a new translation of the classic story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.
Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago’s love for the tender and beautiful Lara: pursued, found, and lost again, Lara is the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times.
©1957 Boris Pasternak (P)2011 Random House
"This new translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is for the first time based on the authentic original text, reflects the present, deeper level of understanding of the great masterpiece of 20th century Russian literature and conveys its whole artistic richness with all its complexities and subtleties that had escaped the attention of the earlier translators and readers." (Lazar Fleishman, Professor of Russian Literature, Stanford University)
"Without a doubt, their version will become the standard translation of the novel for years to come." (Barry Scherr, Mandel Family Professor of Russian, Dartmouth College)
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
This book is so much more than an epic historical love story, but I would never have picked up on it earlier in life. It is a Russian philosophical feast. The women in Zhivago's life clearly portray his feelings about Russia and the social changes that it went through. I'm amazed at how Pasternak was able to do this. The audio version was excellent because it provided a short intro that helped me with the magical /folktale part of the book, and then it had an afterword and a short history on Pasternak's life. Just be prepared for its typical Russian length and repetitiveness on theme / thought. Oh, and the love story is magnificent, too.
... and Lara.
This felt more like a history book than a novel. Of course, a well-written and lyrical history book, but still. Like many, I read this because I loved the movie. As others have mentioned, this is nothing like the movie. The primary goal of this novel, it seems, is to tell what life was like during the Revolution. The secondary, or maybe even tertiary, goal of this is to tell the stories of Zhivago and others. Found this very hard to follow. I have to put this book in the "glad I listened to it, but sure didn't enjoy it" category. I've listened to and enjoyed War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and Crime and Punishment, so I'm not at all adverse to long, philosophical Russian novels.
A living historical document of the Russian Revolution, by one who lived through it to tell the tale.
Strelnikov. Hero and villain, most realistic character.
He did women's voices pretty well.
I was appalled to learn that Pasternak was a self hating Jew.He went off on some antisemitic rants, which, considering he was of Jewish heritage, was extremely shocking.
I am more impressed now, by the David Lean film. He was able to take a somewhat tedious narrative and piece together an unforgettable film.
My first encounter with the novel was the 1957 Italian translation from the Russian, which I loved. When the 1958 English version came out I had a more difficult time with it, comparing it rather unfavorably with the Italian version. I am happy to say that this audiobook of the new English translation, read so beautifully, is remarkably similar to the Italian version.
It's flowing descriptions of the era, sometimes shocking, rich use of language and sentimentality of the main characters are touching. It is a love story and a history of Russia at the beginning of the last century. For my taste it is more meaningful than War and Peace, maybe because it is based on more recent events. For those who have read the 1958 English translation I suggest this entirely new version will be very rewarding.
It was outstanding!
I was warned that it would be difficult to follow the characters, but it was not difficult at all.
the story of life.
"Just being there".
Zhivago ... Yuri .... of course. Because he reminds me of myself. I have a certain inertia which keeps me grounded and for the most part I just flow with what comes at the moment. That is Yuri's mode of living. Yuri is life. This isn't a love story, as one might take from the movie, but of being drawn to something new because it seemed right at the time. That is, the opportunity presents itself and you live it to the full.
The aspect of living life is poetically described in the race of Yuri in the broken down tram and Mademoiselle Fleury. Yuri simply loses that race and Mademoiselle Fleury carries on with hers. Which is significantly different from the movie which has Lara in the place of Fleury, and the message is entirely lost.
That Yuri is life shows itself in the manner of description for which Pasternak is emminently skilled. When Yuri experiences something the sensuality of it is brought forth through the words, better than for any other author I know of.
The narrator isn't that important here.
Yes. But best savoured in portions ... when reading again after the first time. I read the book perhaps 2 or 3 times a year.
The repetitions and coincidences are exceptional in this book. An example is the Rowan Berry tree [European Ash] and red wine.
The translator and narrators did a fine job. However, the novel had zero humor and was very preachy. I listened to this book because Pasternak won the Nobel Prize and the David Lean movie is a classic. But don't expect Tolstoy or Dostoevsky.
John Lee sure. He saved it. But this book was a chore.
I read this book because it is a classic. I suspect it reflects the people and the times well. But oh, my. Take me back to Follett's Century Trilogy.
Voices distinguishable and not annoying, even though the characters were.
Relief it was over and sorry it cost 2 credits.
Pasternak has an amazing ability to capture the necessarily complex Russian philosophical attitudes during and after the Russian revolution and turn them into a beautiful novel of hardship and perseverance.
After a trip to Russia, I decided to read Doctor Zhivago and given the difficulty of pronouncing the many names, surmised that the best reading would be an audio book. The reader was perfect! Thank you! The afterword was extremely informative, I wish there had been an option to hear about the life of Pasternak and the political influences on his work before listening to the book.
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