The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

In the waning days of the Soviet Union, I spent a year in Moscow on an academic exchange, and brought along a favorite book: an English translation of Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago, with the cover prudently removed.

At that time, with glasnost still somewhere over the horizon, Pasternak’s 1957 epic novel, describing the life of a stubbornly individualistic doctor-poet in the decades surrounding the Bolshevik Revolution, remained high on the list of heretical books outlawed by the Kremlin—though, like Solzhenitsyn’s writings, it had for decades been in underground circulation.