This book requires more than time on the train to read it; it needs concentration and devotion. But the reward of reading it! The book is a beautiful and tragic tale of Russia with all its social upheavals and in the middle we have a heartbreaking love-story between two people caught in all the craziness of mankind. It is a wonderful comparison of historical events and changes and the fate of the small individual amidst these impersonal events. Lara and Yuri's impossibility to be together forever is obvious from the start even to them, but never does one stop hoping that somehow things will change and that there will be room in the world they inhabit for people like them. The novel explores Russian society in its most difficult times; the poverty, hunger, danger, the hopelessness of it all, yet the hope people still keep within themselves for a better future. The devotion of Strelnikov, Lara's husband, to his cause is an example of the desperate attempts of people to try and create something out of themselves, this world, to try and rise beyond the fragility of human experience. Yet the serenity and modesty with which some of the characters accept their fate is just as heartbreaking as the love-story. The things people live through, and still manage to have hope; this is amazing in the novel. Yuri's poems at the end of the book are beautiful also.