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Doctor Zhivago Paperback – 3 Oct 2002

4.1 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Paperback, 3 Oct 2002
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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; TV Tie-In edition (3 Oct. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099448432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099448433
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 3.2 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,981,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The best way to understand Pasternak's achievement in Doctor Zhivago is to see it in terms of this great Russian literary tradition, as a fairy tale, not so much of good and evil as of opposing forces and needs in human destiny and history that can never be reconciled . . . [Zhivago is] a figure who embodies the principle of life itself, the principle that contradicts every abstraction of revolutionary politics."--from the Introduction by John Bayley

The best way to understand Pasternak s achievement in Doctor Zhivago is to see it in terms of this great Russian literary tradition, as a fairy tale, not so much of good and evil as of opposing forces and needs in human destiny and history that can never be reconciled . . . [Zhivago is] a figure who embodies the principle of life itself, the principle that contradicts every abstraction of revolutionary politics. from the Introduction by John Bayley" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A new translation of one of the greatest love stories ever told, in a beautiful gift edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I first began reading "Dr Zhivago" I was disappointed by the pace of the narrative; the novel is not dedicated to romance but also to the political and military events of the Bolshevik Revolution, which can be heavy going at times. However, with perseverence the magic of the book begins to shine through, and I was captured by the vivid pictures Pasternak creates with his language and writing. This version (Everyman's Library Classics) is particularly good as it also includes Zhivago's poems, which are exempt from some versions. Overall this is a powerful novel of love and destruction, of war and peace, and of such a magnitude that it can ,at times, leave you breathless. I would recommend it to any fan of Russian literature, but also to anyone in search of a wonderful story.
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Format: Paperback
Frequently considered one of the most sublime love stories ever told, Pasternak's masterpiece marked a significant moment in the history of Russian literature. Although rejected for publication, the furore around its censorship was the first step in liberating creativity from the clutches of the ideologues. This historical significance barely scrapes the iceberg in comparison to the beauty of the events it portrays. In this tale of love and loss and struggle for survival during the Russian Revolution, Pasternak captures better than anyone else the supreme majesty of the simple things in life. The view from a study window, the freedom of living ones life free from compulsion and terror. But that is the lot of some periods of history and it is in how you cope with these strains which determine your life. Yes, this novel focuses on the upper classes and the erosion of the uncontested freedoms they once enjoyed, but it is so much more than that. This is a novel about human freedom from compulsion, whether you are a millionaire or a pauper, the liberation of the human spirit should begin here and now, with this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all it needs to be said: this is not a love story. The problem is that television and film have made it so and this is reinforced by the publisher's blurb writer trying to cash in on this.

The characters find themselves drawn into the First World War, the February and October Russian Revolutions, the Russian Civil War and the Second World War. The main themes of the book are how families become torn apart and distorted by the demands of fighting and of Communist Party discipline; in the latter case we see versions of Doublethink as well as a deadening of individuals' critical consciences.

This novel has moments of sporadic brilliance but is patchy and not particularly strong in any one of the things it tries to do. As for the love affairs, well, perhaps I'm being a little unfair, but old Z seems to form a deep loving relationship with each woman he is in proximity with. If that's material for a love story, well all right, but then a variety of porn movies could also be sold with this description. Certainly there is little subtlety to the relationships; well not that I can see, although some readers attribute this to the translation.

Other books on the civil war: try Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don and Bulgakov's White Guard.
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Format: Paperback
After reading famous books you often feel that whilst it was good, you can't quite understand why it has become so renowned. Perhaps it is because the idea is powerful but badly executed or perhaps has an incredible mood but the concept and importance are somewhat lacking. None of these feelings occur when reading Dr Zhivago, its artistry is superb, the dialogues and turns of phrase are often breathtaking in their subtle importance, beauty or both. This is a book that fully warrants its reputation, it is stripped of the idealism and runs almost like a political philosophy discourse at times in the development of ideas of equality, the human spirit and the paths to progress in society.

It is for this reason that I don't think the book deserves its reputation as a 'love story': it is certainly a human story with love becoming more important as a theme as the book continues, but the power of the context is such that one could say that it is a political book first and a romance second. However, such hierarchies are not applicable in a work such as Dr Zhivago, such is Pasternak's skill as a writer that the themes of the novel perfectly complement each other, he balances the issues of the history of the era, Yury's development as a person and the underlying current of the women in his life with almost orchestral skill. If Pasternak's aim was to create an illustration of the power, subtlety and synphonic nature of life, uncontrollable by 'men of action' then this is reflected in the structure and style of his prose.

The book had a great effect on me, its integrity was great and the whole book wonderfully honest. Each comment was razor blade sharp so I was often completely surprised that he was brave enough to write such things in Soviet Russia.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's pretty much all been said in other positive reviews - anyone expecting a love story and little else will be disappointed, but if you want to get a feel for Russia post Great War, read on...I particularly like the moral aspect of the book, and his struggle to make sense of a world that has changed irrevocably. If you have a passion for history (like me) try it - I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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