The journey that inspired The Bronze Horseman.
From the author of the celebrated, internationally bestselling Bronze Horseman saga comes a glimpse into the private life of its much loved author, and the real story behind the epic novels. Only a few chapters into writing her first story set in Russia, her mother country, Paullina Simons travelled to Leningrad (now St Petersburg) with her beloved Papa. What began as a research trip turned into six days that forever changed her life, the course of her family, and the novel that became The Bronze Horseman.. After a quarter-century away from her native land, Paullina and her father found a world trapped in yesteryear, with crumbling stucco buildings, entire families living in seven-square-meter communal apartments, and barren fields bombed so badly that nothing would grow there even fifty years later. And yet there were the spectacular white nights, the warm hospitality of family friends and, of course, the pelmeni and caviar. At times poignant, at times inspiring and funny, this is both a fascinating glimpse into the inspiration behind the epic saga, and a touching story of a family’s history, a father and a daughter, and the fate of a nation.
Pretty much everyone in the world seems to have at least heard of Paullina Simons’ book The Bronze Horseman, which tells the love story of two young people caught up in the Siege of Leningrad during the Second World War.
Six Days in Leningrad is a ‘behind the scenes’ look at the author’s trip to Russia prior to writing the book. It is interesting in its own right, offering a peek into the disastrous experiment that was the Soviet Union and what it was like to live inside it.
Leningrad, now back to its original name, Saint Petersburg, is an amazing, gorgeous place (as long as you avoid the Soviet-era parts!), and a city I have visited more than once. The contrast between the glamour of Russia’s most impressive city and the mess communism created and left behind is extreme, and illustrated wonderfully both in this book and in The Bronze Horseman.
Recommended for fans of the other book as well as anyone interested in the darkest part of the history of Russia.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.