The power of the written word is not easily dismissed, and in the case of Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, this influence is on vivid display.
Inspired by the true Cold War events surrounding this banned Russian novel, this is the story of the women and men involved in its gestation, publication and use as a political weapon by the CIA.
Spies! Smuggling! Seduction! Secrecy! This is a fascinating and fast-paced saga of literary history. [Larger font]
We enjoyed this book, although the narrative moving among characters was disconcerting at times. Many themes to consider.
Enjoyed by all but to varying levels. All agreed it was great to get a perspective on another time and political climate. Some found the early changing of narrative voice a little challenging to follow.
We really enjoyed this book. Well-written and easy to read. Inspired some of us to go and watch the movie.
Overall our group enjoyed this book, and were interested in the story behind Dr. Zhivago.
Good discussion on the oppression by Russian leaders of political opinion and the significance of Dr. Zhivago as a novel. Also discussion on the suppression of the women in the typing pool and the arrogance of the males in charge. Rated as a good read.
All enjoyed. Topical again. A bit confusing to start with until we sorted the characters out.
Enjoyed by all - a well-written book and the characters seemed very real. Created great discussion - we have decided as a group to see the film 'Dr Zhivago' and continue the discussion.
Mixed opinions on the book. Some really enjoyed it and others not so much. More about the typing pool would have been nice.
Content of the book was great, but not an easy read. Labels at the beginning of chapters often confusing. However, a few of us got together to watch the DVD of 'Dr. Zhivago', and got the book from the library to refresh our memories.
While most found the subject interesting, the group were generally lukewarm about the book, and the style of writing.
This book was enjoyed by all, although all had got tired of the Americanisms. Most of the group wished to catch up with 'Dr Zhivago' again. A great book to have ended the year with.
We spent a long time discussing this book - especially the fiction and non fiction aspect. One of our group is Russian born, and her contribution was very useful. Some are keen to see the film/s again. Perhaps we will together.
All of us enjoyed the back story to Doctor Zhivago, and the depths of CIA involvement.
Very good discussion. We thought the Russian sections about Boris and Olga were excellent. The American part had very good aspects but too much material and the overall effect was disjointed. Other very good spy writers came into the discussion. Overall, disappointed in a book which promised so much.
We found this an intriguing story, especially for the interest it sparked in Boris Pasternak. Some re-read Dr. Zhivago and others are reading it for the first time, and we may watch the film.
Didn't want it to finish.
We all thought this was an excellent read.
Everyone enjoyed the book. We had a big discussion about the ending. Was it Irina or Sally being referred to at the end We all reminisced about the book and film of Dr Zhivago.
Those who read the book fully very much enjoyed it, especially as we did not know the back story of the book 'Doctor Zhivago'. Two members did not get past the first few paragraphs, and we all agreed the book had a very slow start but it was worth persisting.
An enjoyable gripping read, which gave a great historical insight into Cold War strong female characters, and an interesting exploration of treatment of lesbians at the time. Some of us found it confusing to follow because of the back and forth between different time zones and so many characters. Characters were two dimensional, sterotypical and we did not feel we really knew them .
We all enjoyed the story, but felt that it needed editing - seemed to flip-flop between chapters without enough detail.
We enjoyed the book, especially as many of our group were of an age to have seen the film of Dr Zhivago in our romantic years in the 1960s.
Swinging from characters and time parallels did make for some confusion amongst our readers but for those that persevered the rewards were reaped and the star rating went up. For those more familiar with Doctor Zhivago this was a more compelling read, and for those of us with little to no knowledge of Pasternaks Nobel prize winning work it certainly shed more light on the subject and discussions were based squarely on the importance of this outstanding and controversial literature triumph.
Enjoyable read, knowing it was based around the history of the book Dr Zhivago. Group felt the connection between the American and Russian characters non existent except for the actual copy of the book, which did make it seem like two separate stories.