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Six Days in Leningrad

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  602 ratings  ·  84 reviews
The never-before-told story of the journey behind 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. Paullina Simons gives us a work of non-fiction as captivating and heart-wrenching as the lives of Tatiana and Ale
ebook, 521 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by HarperCollins Australia
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Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Before I start my review, I would like to thank Paullina Simons. It is not everyday that you get to experience just how one of your most beloved stories of all time came to be.

Paullina retells her experience of travelling back to her birthplace, Russia, to find inspiration for the book which is now The Bronze Horseman, and then continued on in TBTC and TSG. She travels with her Papa. What I loved most was Paullina's relationship with her father changing over the course of the 6 days. But also I
*on hiatus*
This is a priceless read for anyone who's read and loved The Bronze Horseman trilogy. It wasn't the most glamorous or exciting read a lot of the time, but it was well written, emotional and full of meaning. It feels as though we are gazing into the innermost depths of Paullina Simons' soul. It's such a personal look into her life, I can't help but appreciate it and feel vastly privileged to have been given the opportunity to understand who she is and how that transpires into her writing. This re ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Oh I just loved this, if like me you have read The Bronze Horseman, fell totally and utterly in love with Alexander and Tatiana and were completely fascinated by the historical events covered by this book then by all means read this, I think its brilliant. I had no idea just how much of her life Paullina Simons had poured in to this story but this book was a moving account of her research trip back to her Russian homeland before writing the story. She left in 1973 age 10 and returned for the 1st ...more
DJ Sakata
Nov 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Favorite Quotes:

In my opinion four people were responsible for bringing down the Berlin Wall and Communism: Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John Paul II, and my father.

My dad picked some cherries off the cherry tree and ate them. He gave me five. That was my lunch. Gratefully I popped them in my mouth. There were exquisitely sour. When I mentioned this, my dad glared at me, as if I had insulted his cooking.

You don’t understand, Paullina. All the things you want to remember. I want despera
Oct 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I was really looking forward to reading this book, mainly because the Bronze Horseman trilogy are some of my favorite books of all times!
I wasn't too impressed with the start; the story of the author traveling from US to Russia and all the nuances of traveling with Russian airline - it was cute but not captivating at all. Then in Leningrad (St. Peterburg) it gets interesting. Being born and raised in Soviet Union myself I could totally connect to how she felt about seeing that life style again
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First read - October 2013
Second read - February 2016

~~Second read comments~~
I ended my first comments with this and I'm starting my second comments with it ... anyone who is a fan of The Bronze Horseman _NEEDS_ to read this book. No doubt about it. Given the setting of TBH, as a reader, you might be a bit distanced from the reality of life in Leningrad then & now .. as it really hasn't changed. PS brilliantly brings every aspect of daily life into sharp focus. The communal living, the poverty, t
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finished Six Days in Leningrand, the trip Paullina Simons took back to Russia, the first time since she left with her family for America when she was 10 years old.

This book is EVERYTHING that I could have ever wanted. From before the trip to each day she spent in Leningrand, it is vivid, it is charming, it is mesmerising, it is heart warming; but the overwhelming feeling I have is that I shouldn't be reading it. It feels so private. It feels like this is Paullina laying out her heart and her so
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love that you gave us this Paullina, thank you. Beautiful.
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After I finished graduate school, I treated myself to a backpacking trip through Europe. Communist Russia had always fascinated me. I didn't make it to Russia but I went into Eastern Berlin less than two years after the wall was toppled and the Iron Curtain fell, revealing an empire in disrepair, a corrupt government, and a life portrait frozen in time. Evidence of Krystalnacht and WWII still littered the landscape. The cars were the same color, make and model and none were newer than 25 years. ...more
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When Paullina Simons was just 5, her father was arrested for “anti-Communist agitation”. He was imprisoned, sent to the Gulag and then into internal exile. He made use of this time to learn English and after his release asked for permission to emigrate. Surprisingly this was granted and the family left for the United States where they settled. This book is the story of a trip she and her father made back to Leningrad in 1998, a trip she needed to make for research on her acclaimed novel The Bron ...more
Lauren Chater
Jan 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Five brilliant amazing incredible stars to this beautiful memoir about American author Paullina Simon's journey to her home country of Russia with her father. This book brought me to tears so many times... I suppose I have a bit of a vested interest as I did myself visit Leningrad (or St. Petersburg as it is called now) with my own Dad earlier this year. I was also there to do book research and, like Paullina, I had to leave my little babies behind with my husband and mother! I also had only fou ...more
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
ix Days in Leningrad is the memoir of the famous author of ‘The Bronze Horseman’ series, Paulina Simons. It is about the journey behind ‘The Bronze Horseman’. Paulina was born in Russia and soon after she started writing her first story, she traveled from the U.S. to Leningrad with her father to do some research. (Note: Leningrad is now known as St. Petersburg).

It had been a quarter of a century since Paulina and her father visited their homeland and it was not what they expected. They found a
The Bronze Horseman is my all time favourite book in the world. It took me forever to get through as i had to keep searching on Google at the places and buildings she mentioned. I cannot wait to re-read the trilogy with new eyes, i will be able to see it all in my head while reading.

I loved the pictures at the end, the street where Tatiana & Alexander first saw each other, the apartments and The Bronze Horseman statue.

A must read for any fan of TBH.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
She will forever be my favourite story teller! Ah! Paullina is so talented, even this memoir is brilliant, heartfelt, captivating and relatable. So many times I felt as though I was seeing everything through her eyes. Although, I must state that I really, really would have loved to have seen a picture of this infamous Radik of when he was young! The whole time he was talked about I was dying to see it for myself this incredible, remarkable human being. He was described as if he was a unicorn
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a must read for fans of Paullina Simons. It is a beautiful story of her family and her Russia. As a fan of everything Paullina writes it was so enjoyable to read about her life and see all the little pieces that make up her stories.

I hope it comes out in paperback.

Upon finishing it though I now feel the need to re-read The Bronze Horseman. For the 6th time. Yessss!
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved 'Six Days in Leningrad'. Paullina was born in Russia and migrated to the US at age 10. This is her first trip back - in her late 30's with her Dad - ostensibly to research for a novel - for just six days. But the book is largely about visiting places that loom large in her childhood memories.This book resonates on many levels. She captures the migrant's 'visiting home' so well, the life of every day Russians under communism, briefly but memorably - the history of the siege of Leningrad. ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Ms Simons for a very personal story.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
The subject was very interesting, not sure whether I like her style of writing. The Bronze Horseman is one of the few books I actually abandoned so maybe she just isn't my kind of writer.
Cindy Roesel
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The never-before-told story behind one of the best-loved romantic sagas of all time.

Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad in 1963 and left with her family to the United States when she was ten years old wanting to be a writer when she grew up. In 1998, Paullina returned with her father to Russia for the first time in twenty-five years to research her fourth novel, which would become the internationally bestselling THE BRONZE HORSEMAN, a saga of love, betrayal, tragedy, and hope set against the b
Luchi Rzezak
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Paullina. Thank you very much for share this experience with us.
Your personal journey to the country who saw you born. Your going back to your childhood, the people who loved you and have been stuck in Russia.
Thank you for TBH and was so moving to me all you have lived that I felt that I was with you in Shepelevo, at the Dorama. Walking thru the fields of mars, standing in front of the Neva, Ladoga...all your life exposed. Your heart. I smell it too. And when you returned I barely br
Beth DuFault
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
To all fans of "The Bronze Horseman" - you will not want to miss out on reading this memoir. It's a very personal journey for Simons to go back to Leningrad/St. Petersburg. I loved the fact that she traveled back with her dad and all the funny and unique circumstances that go with traveling with an older parent. (A lot of us can relate.)

Once I finished this book - I couldn't wait to re-read TBH. I have a greater appreciation for all the landmarks Simons had written about. It made me sad to think
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book! Thank you Paullina for
Sharing your experience with us all! The journey back to your birth place with your papa is full of so much detail and passion! Your books never disappoint! I have always wanted to visit at Petersburg since reading The Bronze Horseman 12 years ago but now after reading your memoir, I want to go even more!
Jan 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Very dull. She mentions and author who talks about toilets in his travel book well this is the same. How she can never find a toilet and then how she deals with her feminine hygiene. I feel this should have been given to her family not to the general public.
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Heart wrenching memories of a life once lived in Russia helps us understand the lead up to Paullina's creation of the best story ever written, The Bronze Horseman. Wonderfully written as always
Cindy Wilkerson
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
A must read for any fan of "The Bronze Horseman"
Meowzilla Y
An interesting behind-the-scenes look at Russia and what inspired the author to write the Bronze Horseman trilogy, even though this was written 2 decades ago. Having recently been to Russia, I can say some things did change with the tricentenial face-lift of St. Petersburg, but the Hero City Leningrad sign is still up, and of course I have no way of knowing if outside the city centre, away from the tourist areas, things have changed at all for the locals. I do know not everybody lives in the com ...more
Marine Pontes
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this in audiobook read by Paullina herself, it was an amazing experience and it felt so personal and special. Her time in Leningrad reminded me a lot of my trips back home to my country, everyone she met was just content living that basic life, and nothing changed since she left. I always feel (living in America) that time moves on here for me but it doesn’t change for them back home, in this book Paullina showed me that this is true. I wanted to read this because of The Bronze Hor ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
I don't know what took me so long to read this book, because it's amazing. It really spoke to me, it was like a mirror was held up to me. I could relate to almost everything, with just some years apart difference. I felt the nostalgia for the childhood in Leningrad and dacha, and the shock of seeing it as an adult. And just like Paullina who in the end talks about how grateful she is for her dad bringing them to America, I will always be grateful to my parents, especially my dad. Now I need to g ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir. It was almost like reading a novel, nothing dull or boring but very interesting and captivating. She literally took me to Leningrad, I felt as though I took the trip with her. I found things in her experience that she incorporated into her books. The things she wrote about and experienced opened my mind and broadened my concepts of life in other places. One of the best memoirs I’ve ever read.
Adriana Nasato
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually listened to the Audiobook and any fan of The Bronze Horseman should listen to this - Paullina does her own narration so you get a true sense of what it was like for her to go on this journey. I loved listening to the Russian pronunciation too. Made me want to go back to St Petersburg all over again!
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Paullina Simons was born in Leningrad, USSR, in 1963. At the age of ten her family immigrated to the United States. Growing up in Russia Paullina dreamt of someday becoming a writer. Her dream was put on hold as she learned English and overcame the shock of a new culture.

After graduating from university and after various jobs including working as a financial journalist and as a translator Paullin

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9 likes · 5 comments
“The anecdote was funny, but as my father gazed across the river at the university of his youth, his Russian life was in his eyes.” 3 likes
“I couldn’t wait to get out of the car. The first thing I did was smell the air. I closed my eyes and took a breath, the biggest breath of my life, knowing I was taking the biggest breath of my life. I was taking a breath to smell Shepelevo. Breathing in Shepelevo was like hitting the right note on the piano. There was only one right note. When I was young, Shepelevo was the smell of nettles, of salted smoked fish, of fresh water from the Gulf of Finland, and of burning firewood, all wrapped up in one Shepelevo. As it had been, so it was. Across two continents, a dozen countries, twenty cities, three colleges, two marriages, three children, three books, and twenty-five years of another life, I breathed it and smelled the air. Nowhere else in the world had it. “Papa,” I said, my voice breaking. “Do you think we could photograph the smell?” He gave me a look and then laughed.” 2 likes
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