So last night, I attended a talk by Anna Pasternak as part of my volunteering at the Aye Write Festival which is being held in Glasgow inThe Mitchell Library. I came into the talk about 20 minutes in and to be honest, I really had no idea what’s she was talking about. I could tell she was a very clever, very intellectual and was very passionate about talking about ‘the Russian soul.’ That’s what she was talking about when I came in (after 20 minutes of waiting for a late comer who never arrived) but by the end of the talk, I
was thoroughly engrossed. It turns she was writing a biography of Olga the author, Boris Pasternak’s mistress: who Lara, the main heroine in the novel is based off. It only took me 40 minutes to realise the author speaking was a relation of Boris Pasternak, the author of Dr Zhivago.The book, Dr Zhivago I’d heard of before but i had no idea of its political significance in the rise of communist Germany, his turbulent life or the social impact it would have the people of Russia. I had no idea what it was even about before tonight. Russian literature is not something we know as much about in the West as we should and I think our generation is missing in having never heard of books like this.
Afterwards, I met a very interesting man while I was keeping everyone in the right queue and he showed me his copy of Dr Zhivago…in Russian. He then proceeded to talk to me in what I thought was maybe too thick a Glasgow accent for me to understand then I realised he was speaking Russian for like 5 minutes straight which is a long time when you don’t speak the language.
To conclude, I must do a few things.
1) find out what is meant by the ‘Russian Soul’
2) Read Dr Zhivago
3) Review it