This time about Zhivago


A lot of people consider Boris Pasternak’s novel “Doctor Zhivago” as one of the greatest works in literature. So I’ve decided tosee if it’s true. It really is a good book, a story is strong and emotional. And the author conveys the real view Dr_ Zhivagoof that time, and all historical events of that time (Russian Revolution of 1905, World War II, and things that happened between these events, horrible things).

Nonetheless, it wasn’t easy to read this book. Sometimes it was rather hard. The first struggle for me was at the beginning of the story. Pasternak introduces so many new characters and so rapidly. Because of this rush it was at times hard to memorise who is who. Moreover, I sometimes missed a more detailed portray of those characters, so I could see them better, understand them better.

But then, when the story concentrated only around main characters: Yuri Zhivago (especially, when he’s already married), Lara, Pasha, the story became more vivid, more interesting and involving. But this lasted not for long. After that, I’ve reached the point when author concentrates only on Zhivago, his emotions and thoughts, his considerations and empathy. Zhivago, who is a doctor, is confused, he is lost between his passion and wiish to write and his obligations and duties as doctor and family man. Plus, the author gives a reader a chance to know Zhivago better by reading his diary. Not very interesting part of a book for me, and I’ll explain why later.

The ending part (my way of section the book differs from the real section, made by an author) of a book caught my attention again, and brought my interest to the story back. And this part of the book was, in my opinion, the most dynamic and tragic.

After getting back from captivity, Zhivago all being sick, founds out that his family is in Moscow, he reconciliates with Lara, and stays to live her, so he could get better and go to Moscow in search of his family. He gets better, but he keeps postponing his  journey to Moscow, so he could stay with Lara and her daughter. He loves Lara.

And in this last part of the book, we get to know what happens to all character, how their lives changed through the years. This is the kind of information for those who are curious to all the details about those, they’ve read and went throughout this long path.

But let’s get back why Zhivago’s portrait, his personality wasn’t interesting. For me, as a male character, Zhivago is too weak. I don’t mean that he should be a macho man, or a supergero; I just think that a man shoul be able to have his own strong opinion, be able to decide and fulfil his decisions. But all Zhivago did was just thinking, analysing, dreaming and basically doing nothing. He used to get passionate about something, for example, writing, but he also used to stop doing something for it, or it very soon. So, for me, read about someone who can’t make up his mind, who always  flusters and tries to figre out something, that he doesn’t even know, is really not very interesting. I get that a lot from real life. People (it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman) who don’t know what they want, do not attract me.

However, the book is still quite nice. It’s a classic after all, known worldwide. In a scale from 1 to 10 I would give “Doctor Zhivago” 7 or 8, so I guess it’s fair enough.

At the end, I’d like to share some interesting information related to this book and its author. At the very end of the book we get an opportunity to read 25 poems written by Doctor Zhivago ( but they were actually written by Pasternak). And one of them – “Winter night”, was turned into a song “The candle was burning”. The song is performed by one of the most famous singers in Russia- Alla Pugacheva and former “Gorky Park” vocalist Nikolai Noskov. So, for those, who are unfamiliar with this information I’ll post here this poem, in both: Russian and English languages, and also a video of the song, so you could listen to it. 🙂

Winter night

It snowed and snowed ,the whole world over,
Snow swept the world from end to end.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

As during summer midges swarm
To beat their wings against a flame
Out in the yard the snowflakes swarmed
To beat against the window pane

The blizzard sculptured on the glass
Designs of arrows and of whorls.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

Distorted shadows fell
Upon the lighted ceiling:
Shadows of crossed arms,of crossed legs-
Of crossed destiny.

Two tiny shoes fell to the floor
And thudded.
A candle on a nightstand shed wax tears
Upon a dress.

All things vanished within
The snowy murk-white,hoary.
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

A corner draft fluttered the flame
And the white fever of temptation
Upswept its angel wings that cast
A cruciform shadow

It snowed hard throughout the month
Of February, and almost constantly
A candle burned on the table;
A candle burned.

Зимняя ночь
Мело, мело по всей земле
Во все пределы.
Свеча горела на столе,
Свеча горела.Как летом роем мошкара
Летит на пламя,
Слетались хлопья со двора
К оконной раме.

Метель лепила на стекле
Кружки и стрелы.
Свеча горела на столе,
Свеча горела.

На озаренный потолок
Ложились тени,
Скрещенья рук, скрещенья ног,
Судьбы скрещенья.

И падали два башмачка
Со стуком на пол.
И воск слезами с ночника
На платье капал.

И все терялось в снежной мгле
Седой и белой.
Свеча горела на столе,
Свеча горела.

На свечку дуло из угла,
И жар соблазна
Вздымал, как ангел, два крыла
Крестообразно.

Мело весь месяц в феврале,
И то и дело
Свеча горела на столе,
Свеча горела.

So, now you can listen to both versions of the song, and pick the best one for you 🙂
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One thought on “This time about Zhivago

  1. Pingback: Some interesting aspects on Dostoyevsky, Pasternak and how they are related to dissident: Part 3 | After le The Notes

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