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Publisher's Summary

The heartbreaking story of the love affair between Boris Pasternak, the author of Doctor Zhivago, and Olga Ivinskaya - the true tragedy behind the timeless classic.

When Stalin came into power in 1924, the Communist government began persecuting dissident writers. Though Stalin spared the life of Boris Pasternak - whose novel in progress, Doctor Zhivago, was suspected of being anti-Soviet - he persecuted Boris' mistress, typist, and literary muse, Olga Ivinskaya. Boris' affair with Olga devastated the straitlaced Pasternaks, and they were keen to disavow Olga's role in Boris' writing process. Twice Olga was sentenced to work in Siberian labor camps, where she was interrogated about the book Boris was writing, but she refused to betray the man she loved. When Olga was released from the gulags, she assumed that Boris would leave his wife for her, but, trapped by his family's expectations and his own weak will, he never did.

Drawing on previously neglected family sources and original interviews, Anna Pasternak explores this hidden act of moral compromise by her great-uncle and restores to history the passionate affair that inspired and animated Doctor Zhivago. Devastated that Olga suffered on his behalf and frustrated that he could not match her loyalty to him, Boris instead channeled his thwarted passion for Olga into the love story in Doctor Zhivago.

Filled with the rich detail of Boris' secret life, Lara unearths a moving love story of courage, loyalty, suffering, drama, and loss and casts a new light on the legacy of Doctor Zhivago.

©2017 Anna Pasternak (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderfully enjoyable read

Antonia Beamish brings to light Pasternak's 30 year long work on his famous novel Dr Zhivago. Lara, this gripping real story, is so full of detail the author must have researched long and hard. The story evolves during Russia's turmoil after WWII and during the cold war. Stalin, a native of Georgia, spared Pasternak from the gulag when many of his contemporaries disappeared. The dictator favored the author because of his work on Georgia's literature. Had he perished, we would be missing a masterpiece. Pasternak's intricate life, two marriages and mistress would be complicated under any circumstances. But the beauty of the story is the uncanny similiarity between the reality and the novel. The narrative of the Russian revolution and the creation a workers paradise in Zhivago's experience didn't agree with the party line, so Pasternak was forced to decline the Nobel prize for literature, his son was invited to accept the medal 30 years later, after his father's death. You will appreciate reading Anna Pasternak's book even if you haven't read Dr. Zhivago, a great love story in difficult times. Although, who hasn't at least seen the movie with Julie Christy and Omar Shariff. There is a recent remake but I favor the old one.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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EXCUSES EXCUSES

Would you try another book from Anna Pasternak and/or Antonia Beamish?

Read by Ms Beamish yes.

What was most disappointing about Anna Pasternak’s story?

When I first read DZ was enamored. Years later not impressed with artistic license to do as one pleases.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment. So much name dropping, The chronology was confusing.

Any additional comments?

Remember seeing movie with my mom & then 4 year old daughter. "Why is he sleeping with two ladies?" rang thruout the theater.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful