As I see it, Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak is perhaps the century's finest novel. It is not enough to point out its scale of suffering through World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Stalinist era; or to say that it is the greatest love story of the modern era. Yuri writing poetry in the Siberian winter almost defies creative endeavour. At the edge of the snow-field he notices the wolves, "four long shadows, no thicker than pencil strokes." As someone has said these pencil marks have left their mark on world literature.