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The Last Summer is set in Russia during the winter of 1916, when the book s central character, Serezha, pays a visit to his married sister. Tired after the long journey, he falls into a restless sleep and half-remembers, half-dreams the incidents of the last summer of peace before the First World War, when life appeared to pay heed to individuals. As tutor in a wealthy, unsettled Moscow household, he focuses his intense romanticism on Mrs Arild, the employer s paid companion, while spending his nights with the prostitute Sashka and others. In this evocation of Russia immediately prior to the Revolution, the characters are subtly etched against their social backgrounds, and Pasternak imbues the commonplace with his own intense and poetic vision.
Boris Pasternak famously refused the Nobel Prize, makinghimself a household name in the West. The award led to such pressure from the government that he was forced to decline the award, whichled to his expulsion from the Writer s Union.