|Hardcover, 559 pages|
Published 1959 (originally 1957)
Acquired October 2008
Read March 2012
by Boris Pasternak
Nine years ago, David Lean's Doctor Zhivago was one of my favorite films, though I've scarcely seen it since. I thought I would enjoy the book, but for whatever reason, I found it hard to get into, though I did read the whole thing (minus the poems at the end). It has moments of greatness, especially early on, but I would just lose focus and discover that incredibly important things had happened and I had missed them. Pasternak's fault, or the translators'? The best part was "Train to the Urals," a fifty-page chapter detailing the Zhivago family's journey from Moscow to the country during the Communist revolution. Pull it out and you'd have an excellent standalone novella.
The long time it took me to read was exacerbated by my discovery that my copy (a January 1959 printing of the first edition of September 1958) was misprinted, with pages 373 to 404 appearing twice, and 405 to 436 not at all. But I had gotten it for free, and I borrowed the library's copy to fill in the gaps, so all was fine in the end.