SPOILER WARNING.Notoriously, Vladimir Nabokov hated this novel, while admiring Pasternak the poet, and it s not hard to see why The plot is based on an endless series of chance meetings implausible in the vastness of Russia the love story between Yuri and Lara at the heart of the novel is rather conventional and sentimental something which was exaggerated to breaking point in the film version the hero Yuri is rather a Hamlet like figure indecisive, always over intellectualising and constantly running away from where the action is the female characters are unconvincing Tonya is one dimensional, while Lara is too idealised to be plausible, an almost Biblical suffering woman Frankly I didn t understand why Lara was interested in a liaison with Yuri at all, given his rather insipid personality and the fact that she loved her husband and knew that he was alive The one big decision Yuri takes to let Lara go with Komarovski is unexplained why does he go back to Moscow, knowing that his family is in exile and there is nothing for him there The use of Yuri as a mouthpiece for Pasternak s views on literature at various places is annoying and breaks up the flow of the story The worst thing for me is the ending, not because it is an unhappy ending a happy ending would be ridiculous in Soviet Russia, and totally inappropriate , but because the decline and death of Yuri is anticlimactic like Pasternak himself, Yuri is not important enough to be sent to a prison camp , and Lara is unceremoniously jettisoned from the book once Yuri is gone, as if Pasternak couldn t be bothered to write out a detailed end story for her.However, however, however, having said all this, the novel sweeps the reader along in its epic story with its beautful prose of which most of the beauty is lost in translation The real hero of the novel is not Yuri but Russia, its big and small cities, its forests and villages, its peasants and traditions, all of which is under threat of being annihilated by the tidal wave unleashed by the Revolution, a remedy to the flaws of Tsarist Russia which often seems likely to kill the patient This possibly explains the underwhelming ending Pasternak could easily have written a dramatically tragic Romeo and Juliet type of ending, but he doesn t want the love story to dominate everything, nor does he want to write a story focussed on a strong heroic leading man The characters are a way of showing the effects of war and revolution on Russia, not at the Winter Palace or the Kremlin, but in the regions and countryside, in small towns and working districts of Moscow That s why David Lean s film, brilliant in its own way, rather misses the point This novel is not the tragedy of Yuri and Lara but the tragedy of Russia.The very last scene of the book is important long after the deaths of Yuri and Lara, after the second world war, two friends of Yuri s who collaborated and conformed with the Communist regime and whom Yuri looked down on for that reason , are looking forward hopefully to a liberalisation in Russia and a thaw in the regime The book thus foresees Gorbachev but the thaw took decades than Pasternak hoped The collection of poems at the end of the book is integral and essential presented as Zhivago s poems, they include some of Pasternak s best poems.This is a novel by a poet, with flaws that a career novelist might have avoided But read it as a love poem to Russia and the flaws pale into insignificance Lara is mother Russia in a way, abused and mistreated by some, adored and worshipped by others, but just trying to survive and bring up children in the hope that life will be better in the next generation. This is the book you snatch on the way to a desert island You could read and re read and re read this book for the rest of your life The story is epic, yet for the most part the characters are ordinary people The tale documents THE defining event of the 20th century, the Socialist Revolution in Russia The writing is superb Time and again it took my breath away I had to stop and re read a passage or line just to savour it You wouldn t want to die and not have read Doctor Zhivago Do yourself a favour and give the movie a miss It could taint a precious reading experience. Don t get me wrong, this is a fantastic story and I have seen both versions of the film the first was better and truer to the book It is easily worth five stars and, dare I say it, Pasternak is up with Tolstoy as one of the country s great writers.There are a number of typos, but not too many, which come from translating Russian characters or even just accents, so as in touch is represented as something like , into Western ones OK, that is normal in scanned books for the Kindle but for that reason it loses a star and annoys me so much as even a free word processor program could have solved this with search and replace.The story is based around five main characters Yuri, Lara, Tanya, Pasha and Komarovsky the villain of the piece and describes the chaotic descent into the Russian rebellion and the advent of communism told in an uniquely intimate way It is a love story, a story of bravery, suffering and winning through It takes you from the ballrooms of St Petersburg to the lowest of living It is enthralling, emotional and reads very easily The Russian habit of calling people by a variety of nicknames needs to be understood so Yura, Yurii, Yurichenka etc are all the same person. I bought this book because I thought that the film was one of the best films ever Maybe the intellectuals think the same about the book, and maybe they are right I have read Natasha s Dance and also War and Peace, but I found this book very hard work Possibly the sheer number of names of people, not initially connected, does not help Possibly the number of strands which are, initially, not connected, defeated me but yes, I did finish the book A friend recommended reading it again now that I have a better understanding of how it integrates, but I cannot face it Having seen the David Lean film many years ago in the cinema and since then umpteen times on TV I thought it was time to read Pasternak s book And I was not disappointed More complex than the film but equally enjoyable. At first the innumerable Russian names put me off and after about 30 pages, kept the book in the bookshelf for nearly a year.Took it down and restarted the book and the same difficulty but persisted for sometime and now enjoyed the book immensely.A good story. Brought to you by Penguin Translated by Max Hayward and Manya Harari Banned in the Soviet Union until , Doctor Zhivago is the epic story of the life and loves of a poet physician during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution Taking his family from Moscow to shelter in the Ural Mountains, Yuri Zhivago finds himself embroiled in a battle between the Whites and the Reds and in love with the beautiful nurse Lara Pasternak, escritor sublime El tema es extraordinario, pero la narrativaun milagro Se trata de la experiencia vital hecha palabra las imagenes y metaforas todo sin acentos, lo siento, mi teclado es franc s son, sencillamente, sublimes This was my second attempt to read this book No successful than the first Guess you had to be there.