HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Boris Pasternak, born 10 February 1890
“How wonderful to be alive, he thought. But why does it always hurt?” (Dr Zhivago)
Dr Zhivago, which won Pasternak the Nobel Prize for Literature, was actually first published in Italy. The manuscript was smuggled out of the Soviet Union and Pasternak feared he might have to face the firing squad for permitting his novel to be published abroad, without any censorship. It was an international bestseller and when the film version starring gorgeous Omar Sharif and Julie Christie came out in 1965, that was also a huge success.
Dr Zhivago is an incredibly poetic novel – you can tell its author was a poet. Yuri Zhivago is himself a poet and Pasternak includes his character’s poems within the text, but the descriptions of the landscape are also poetic. I do wish I could read this novel in its original Russian. I love the scene when Yuri dies and Lara goes to say her farewell, queueing with other members of the public to walk past his coffin. I weep with her when I read it.
Boris Pasternak died at age 70 on 30 May 1960.
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