Books: Innocence in Russia

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (558 pp.)—Boris Pasternak—Pantheon ($5).

Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane:

I shall descend into my grave. And on the third day rise again.

And, even as rafts float down a river,

So shall the centuries drift, trailing like a caravan,

Coming for judgment, out of the dark, to me.

Thus the U.S.S.R.'s Boris Pasternak, who once described himself as "almost an atheist," seems to summon his readers to stand—not before the official Communist deity, which is a thing called history—but before the divinity of Jesus. This helps to explain why Doctor Zhivago, the greatest Russian...

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