One Hot Summer in St.Petersburg – Duncan Fallowell

OHSINSPAs you’d expect, this travel-writer captures the city, its people, its hot summer and the “white nights” of almost twenty-four hours’ daylight.

 When the author was asked ‘Can creative writing be taught?’ he replied, ‘Not if it’s worth reading!’

The book captures the long daylight hours which mean that people stay up late. The chaos and disorganisation of the city mean that the phone is free but unreliable; heating and gas come on regardless of the weather. Old tills have not kept up with inflation and it is impossible to plan a few days ahead so his diary is full of crossings out

Note the vodka prices, the sexy Slavs, people who look too young to have kids, the scrum at baggage collection.

Russians don’t work hard and dislike Jews who do, they don’t know their history so the Hitler-Stalin pact is not known about and things hidden for seventy-five years during the communist era.

Some of his musings:

Sex without love can have a purity but can also bring out loneliness – after saying goodbye we click back into our separate worlds.

Russia is liberating – the West is free outside but rigid within, Russians free inside. Russia teaches you not to believe in appearances – in America it’s the opposite.

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