The Secrets We Kept and Doctor Zhivago.

I decided to start reading The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott. The book is a Reese Witherspoon book club pick from a couple years back when she first started the book club. Other than that, I didn’t know a whole lot about it. So when I started reading it, I was in for a big surprise.

The book is set during the 1950’s in Russia during the Cold War. Boris Pasternak is working on his novel Doctor Zhivago and having an extramarital affair, the woman who inspired the main character in his novel. He is having a hard time publishing it because the Soviet government believes the novel is subversive in their plans. America hears about the novel, which gets published in Italy and want to get their hands on it and bring it to the Western world’s awareness. There are two women in America who are asked to become spies and try and get their hands on the novel.

The book is generally good, but it’s more of a love story than a spy/thriller like it suggests in the inner flap of the book. The other problem I have with the book is that it keeps flipping between four different characters, sometimes midway through the chapter without actually letting the reader know that the character POV changed; so, that gets confusing.

I’m about halfway through the book now. It’s not one that I’d read again, but now I want to actually read Doctor Zhivago and see what it’s all about. There’s also a couple of nonfiction books out there about the real life story of how the West got Doctor Zhivago published and let the world know about communism and the Soviet Union. I’ll probably end up not reading either book anytime soon, but at least they’re on my radar to read someday. Not to mention that Keira Knightley plays in a movie version of Zhivago and being that I’m a fan of Knightley, I want to see the movie too.

It’s interesting how little we pay attention Russian literature and classics. Some have made it to the Western world (Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Doctor Zhivago, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, etc), but generally we don’t pay attention to it. I wonder if it’s due to the fact that we spent the last forty or fifty years or more fighting against them for a variety of reasons. It’s pretty obvious that Russia has had its share of tyrants and reduced their people to a third world like state.


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