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Duncan Fallowell thought he'd spend a quiet time in St Petersburg working on a novel. Instead he was swept off his feet by a city at an astonishing crisis of transition. It was the summer of 1992. Communism had melted away but capitalism had yet to arrive. Yeltsin said to the Russians and to the Soviet republics 'Take as much freedom as you can,' a statement unprecedented in Russian history. Anything was possible and St Petersburg was a world in vertigo. Daring, vivid, written in close-up detail, this is the only book to have emerged from that incredible, brief moment of opportunity. 'It had to be written by an outsider because the Russians were too stunned,' says Fallowell whose personal experience becomes increasingly destabilised by love, beauty and anxiety. The result is a unique masterpiece of literary reportage.
'An absolute knockout, brilliant, passionate and very alarming . . . as exhilarating on St Petersburg as Isherwood's writings on Berlin . . . candour of every kind.' Michael Ratcliffe, Book of the Year,Observer.
' . . . it presents a picture of contemporary Russian life and love that is at once so idiosyncratic and so physically present on the page that you know it must be true. A rare and memorable achievement' William Boyd,Evening Standard.
'A unique glimpse of the nature of love and an unparalleled vision of a foreign city.' Carolyn Hart,Marie Claire.
'A classic, even a definitive account of sudden and overpowering obsession' Simon Callow, Book of the Year,Evening Standard
'High energy and disarming courage. If you're tired of life, read this and be revived.'The Big Issue
'His prose glitters with ice-sharp observations and glacial venom; gutsy, in that he shies away from absolutely nothing. It is ultimately love which informs this wonderful book. So intense, so real, it's like reading through 3-D glasses' Arminta Wallace,The Irish Times
'Staggeringly innovative' Professor Gregory Woods,A History of Gay Literature
'The most heart-warming and brilliantly written picture of life in Russia that I have ever read' Richard Freeborn, Emeritus Professor of Russian Literature, University of London
'Glitzy, louche and funny, with a wild, vivid energy tapping thezeitgeistand hitting the heart where it hurts most' Cathy Porter,Independent on Sunday
'Knowledgeable, romantic, extrovert. Altogether unique'Daily Telegraph
'Quite unlike any other book about St Petersburg by a European writer' Professor Anthony Cross, Department of Slavonic Studies, University of Cambridge