The Secrets We Kept is a novel about a novel. Lara Prescott has written a fictionalised account of the battle to publish Doctor Zhivago and its repercussions, and the CIA subterfuge in getting it read by Russians.
Edmund Wilson wrote in The New Yorker in 1958 that “Doctor Zhivago will, I believe, come to stand as one of the great events in man’s literary and moral history”. The Kremlin did not agree. It suppressed Boris Pasternak’s novel and it was not published in the Soviet Union until 1988.
Doctor Zhivago is the story of the physician and poet Yuri Zhivago and his struggles in the turbulent and tragic decades of the first half of the 20th century, spanning the Tsarist age, the Bolshevik and the Stalin years. He falls passionately in love with Lara Antipova (memorably played by Julie Christie in David Lean’s 1965 film) but woven through the epic love story is a disillusionment with revolutionary ideas.