“Proto-feminist Mad Men transposed to the world of international espionage—all midcentury style and intrigue set against real, indelible history.”



This is a novel based on the true story of the publication of Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. How it was banned in the USSR and how our CIA helped to get it published, and subsequently getting the book smuggled back into the USSR to be read by the people there hoping to cause problems for the communist government.

While this sounds like an espionage thriller, it is more love stories. The most important love story in the book is that of Pasternak and his lover Olga. She seems to be the model for Lara in the Zhivago story. Their story is sad and yet so heartfelt as Olga will suffer much for being Pasternak’s lover.

The other love story is between Sally and Irina, two CIA agents who will have many secrets to keep, especially the one of their illicit relationship, which if they were found out, would drum them both out of the agency.

The story told through the viewpoints of many people is well done, providing a good view of the Cold War at this time. But the part that will really grab your attention and finally your heart is Olga, her love for a married man, the great poet of Russia, and the publication of a book that will elevate his standing as Writer around the world, except at home, where it brings nothing but problems to Pasternak and everything he loves.



Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 8th January 2020

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Richard Franco