Well, by one particular Russian, at least. And all his vile creations. Does anybody really like Dr. Zhivago? Really? What do you like about it? It cannot be the characters, plot, themes, or writing style -- which are, consecutively, repulsive, onerous, banal, and plodding. My theories on this mystery have been pared down to two possibilities: First, nobody, from the lowliest undergrad to the most exalted on the Pulitzer Prize committee, has actually read Dr. Zhivago -- it's just been a collectively perpetuated fraud, held together by a web of mutual fear of "readers" and "enthusiasts" that someone, somewhere might find them uncultured. Second, there are a whole lot of people out there who lack basic literary taste or the ability to think critically and for themselves when it comes to the accepted contemporary canon.
But, I am ready and waiting to be illuminated. I am only about 44% of the way through -- they're heading to the Urals and everyone is digging out the train. Jason laughs at my increasing frustration and traumatized disbelief that something so wretched could be so celebrated. Says he, "Just watch -- you'll get to the end and it will all be so masterful that you'll close the book and just say, 'Wow!'" He, of course, says this simply to annoy or encourage me (not sure which); he has not read the book. Look, I am willing to be proven wrong about this novel. Truly. I have nothing invested in proclaiming its worthlessness. Should Jason's facetious prediction actually come true, no one could be more ready to admit she was wrong than I.
343 pages left (and I don't care; I am not reading Yuri's poetry at the end; no! No! NO!) -- and I'm determined to finish this book if it kills me or, which seems more likely, causes a severe and lasting depression of spirit. How many pages of Jane Austen and P.G. Wodehouse are necessary to ameliorate the effects of too many pages spent with these dreary, tedious Russian people? I may well be re-reading Brit Lit favorites far into 2013.