Readind Docor Shivago was a struggle, not so much due to the similar and confusing names of the many characters, but I guess due to the fact that I was execting something different (and maybe because I was forced to read it for university - damn you, reading lists!!)
Anyways, it's incredible how Pasternak describes the confusion, arbitrairiness and absurdity that dominates during war time. Without really telling the reader about any political happenings, he draws the picture of the lifes of some Russian citizens during the time of the Russian Revolution. The way they master the fundamental changes of their lifestyles (to which they are, of course, forced) and how they adapt to new and constantly changing systems leaves a kind of ambivalent feeling behind. On one hand it is amazing how people can survive prosecution and a bloody revolution, on the other hand Pasternak shows no progress or developement at all, so you have this bad feeling that it all happend for absolutely nothing and that all will become worse and will end really bad.
Whoever of you might have seen the movie adaption - the book feels at least as long as the movie does (the train journeys feel like they'll take forever), but it's not as gooey and there is absolutely no silly balalaika in it!