People who like Russian novels are accustomed to a certain sprawl and heft and Boris Pasternak, who won the Nobel Prize, is certainly following in the footsteps of titans like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Like Tolstoy in "War and Peace," he sets a smaller story against a tapestry of historical events, in this case the Russian Revolutions and the two World Wars. The story never really came alive for me and, in a rare instance, I actually found the movie more compelling. A few fun facts: this was too controversial to be published in his native Russia and first appeared in Italy. The CIA, hoping to embarrass the Soviets, helped publish the novel in Europe. Vladimir Nabokov called it "a sorrry thing, clumsy, trite and melodramatic, with stock situations, voluptuous lawyers, unbelievable girls, romantic robbers and trite coincidences."
A more modern Russian epic novel. This version seems to be well translated. The setting of this book is the Russian Revolution and the subsequent Bolshevik revolution and civil war. This book is worth reading if you have any interest in it but would probably be a tough grind if you did not.
Essential reading for anyone interested in Soviet literary history. Although hard to follow at times (even if you're familiar with Russian names), it's an engrossing story too.
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