First published in Italy in 1957 amid international controversy, Doctor Zhivago is the story of the life and loves of a poet/physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. Taking his family from Moscow to what he hopes will be shelter in the Ural Mountains, Zhivago finds himself instead embroiled in the battle between the Whites and the Reds. Set against this backdrop of cruelty and strife is Zhivago's love for the tender and beautiful Lara, the very embodiment of the pain and chaos of those cataclysmic times. Pevear and Volokhonsky masterfully restore the spirit of Pasternak's original—his style, rhythms, voicings, and tone—in this beautiful translation of a classic of world literature.
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Best translation but still took months to read
“And Moscow,now seemed to them not the place of these events, but the main heroine of a long story, which they had reached the end of that evening, with the notebook in their hands”
This is a story about many stories. The Russian Revolution, the expectations of parents for children, the evil people do and have done to each other and for each other. It is a history book, a philosophy book, a book on the need for change. And, in the end it is a romance on so many levels: of Yuri Zhivago and his life virtually parentless, of his love for Lara but his duty to his family, his history and his captivity to and within the Revolution that changed the scope of his thinking.
In a small way, it is the memoir hidden within the historical fiction that makes this so compelling. Zhivago ( which the translators when speaking about their work say is a play on the word for life (zhiv) in Russian. During a time in the history of Russia where everything of the old proletariat was “dead”, here are characters who fight to live, to remember, to send forth ideas that survive in the core of their being: family loyalty, loyalty to intelligence in a world gone mad, and in the loyalty find hope, a future and love.
The book spans the life and death of a man who simply seems to care for the one instead of the many. That may have been the Party’s argument that stopped Paternack from being able- NOT being allowed- to accept his Nobel Prize that was finally awarded to his son in 1989.
The translators Pevear and Volokhonsky are some of the best in their field. They take Russian and make it palatable to the non speaker. This is the fourth book they have translated that I have savored. Their work deserves five stars. This work of historical fiction deserves four stars.
Ignore the one star cheap idiots
Who don’t understand this is anew translation. That’s why it’s full price.
This husband wife team breath life into classics with their beautiful translations. Those complaining about the cost don't seem to realize this translation is a recent work (2010) and well worth the price.