Boris's novel Dr. Zhivago had been rejected by his Russian publishers (ergo, the government) and when it was smuggled out and published in Italy, the powers that be weren't happy. So they were all the more irked when Boris won the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1958. Humbly, Boris - quote - "declined" - unquote - the prize, but despite his politically correct action, he ended up in internal exile for what was the Soviet equivalent of harboring anti-American sentiments. American cartoonist Bill Mauldin (one of America's great cartoonists and writers, by the way) depicted a tall thin man splitting logs in a frozen Soviet forest and saying to a companion, "I got the Nobel Prize for Literature. What was your crime?" That cartoon got Bill his (second) Pulitzer Prize.
Again it's a shock to those who know and even revere the works of Boris Pasternak to find out that if you poll Mr. Joe and Josephine Average on the street about who was this famous poet and novelist you'll get mostly blank looks. Then if you mention Dr. Zhivago a look of slow comprehension dawns in a few cases.