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City-pick St Petersburg (City-Pick Series) Paperback – 12 Sep 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxygen Books; 1st Edition edition (12 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956787622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956787620
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 548,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello. I'm Heather Reyes - writer, editor, publisher,' Londoner'.

I'm co-founder of Oxygen Books and have edited all nine of the volumes in our city-pick series of travel anthologies.

Before setting up Oxygen Books in 2008, I had published a range of things - children's stories, poetry, short stories, articles, and a novel (Zade, Saqi Books 2004). Now that Oxygen Books is ticking over, I'm getting back to some of my own writing again. My novel Miranda Road and my non-fiction books An Everywhere: a little book about reading and Bookworms, Dog-Ears & Squashy Big Armchairs: A Book Lover's Alphabet will be appearing this year.

I hope this profile gives you the information you need - I guess it depends on why you've looked me up!



ABOUT ME ...

Born on the outskirts of London, I've always lived, studied and worked either within or less than half an hour from the capital. I was a non-Catholic 'scholarship girl' at the Ursuline High School, Brentwood, then graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London, in English. I went on to King's College for a post-graduate teaching year, but didn't take up a teaching post until much later. I worked as a freelance writer for a while - stories, articles and children's books - until starting a family. Although a card-carrying feminist, I loved - and still love - being a mother, and elected to stay home and look after my two amazing children until they started school, when I took up a teaching post at my old secondary school.

I had a number of short stories published and was working on longer things, too - 'learning the craft' - and at some point I went back to uni (part-time) and took an MA in modern literature, then a Ph.D (on the work of contemporary novelist Christine Brooke-Rose) - both at Birkbeck College, University of London (a marvellous place!).

After a number of 'near misses' with getting a full-length work published, my novel Zade (set in Paris) was accepted for publication by Saqi Books, and came out in 2004. It made a long-list of twelve books for the Prince Maurice Prize (for writing about love). I was over-awed to find that Zadie Smith (whom I really admire) was also on the long-list (though even she didn't make it to the final three!).

Soon after this I took an editing qualification, left teaching, and worked as a freelance editor for a while - though continuing to work on my own writing when I could.

It was during a trip to Athens in early 2008 that my husband, Malcolm Burgess, had the idea for our urban anthologies and we set up Oxygen Books. For some time we'd liked the idea of setting up our own small publishing house, but it needed that 'concrete idea' - about what we should publish that no-one else seemed to be doing - in order to justify such an all-consuming venture.

Nine anthologies (paris, London, Berlin, Venice, Dublin, Amsterdam, New York, St Petersburg and Istanbul) and lots of good reviews later, we feel we have achieved something worthwhile. We're now both finding a bit more time for our own writing again, while continuing our publishing venture.

In April, my first non-fiction book is coming out - An Everywhere: a little book about reading. More about that book - and my other writing - below. This will be followed, in May, by a novel, Miranda Road, set in London and Paris.

I'm currently putting together a collection of my short stories (a number of these have already been published in the UK and USA) and making a tentative start on another non-fiction book.(less)

Product Description

Book Description

Over sixty superb writers on one of the world's most beautiful and haunting cities.

Malcolm Bradbury guides us to the Hermitage
Anna Pavlova describes her school days
Vladimir Nabokov re-lives a St Petersburg winter
Helen Dunmore plunges us into the worst of times
Serge Dovlatov shows some different St Petersburg film-making
Dmitry Shostakovich reveals a musical secret
Truman Capote takes Porgy and Bess to the Soviets
Nikolai Gogol walks us down Nevsky Prospekt
J M Coetzee reimagines Dostoyevsky

Other titles in this series: Paris, Berlin, New York, Amsterdam, Dublin, Venice, Istanbul, London.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A collection that covers many major cities now comes to St Petersburg and what a guide around the city! This is the only guide that you really need - as more than 60 writers show us around their city or the city they know and show us a side that many of us will not have considered before.

This is a booktrail - well many booktrails in one book. THE guide to seeing and experiencing the city in all its forms. Seen through the eyes of writers, you see the city in completely new lights and so much more interesting than a conventional guide book!

Malcolm Bradbury guides us to the Hermitage, Anna Pavlova describes her school days, Vladimir Nabokov re-lives a St Petersburg winter and Nikolai Gogol walks us down Nevsky Prospekt. Plus much more besides - it’s hard to write about the stories as you have to read them to see the full picture but they are all interesting in their own way and give you literary snapshots of a fascinating and beguiling city that few of us really can say we understand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By elizabeth on 16 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this as a present to go with the novel Seige, an excellent book which made me want to know more about the city. This book seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Duncan Fallowell Esq on 18 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A deliciously varied anthology of major writers on this enigmatic, romantic city which has always looked yearningly towards the west but is still struggling for basic cultural freedoms - the scent of liberty ever places it in peril because the dark heart of Asia resents it. A turbulent yet dreamlike book, full of contradictions and an unearthly beauty too.
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By Orwell on 17 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great idea.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
A literary guide to the city 19 July 2013
By IlanaWD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I haven't been to St. Petersburg (yet) but I am fascinated by this city, mostly due to my literary wanderings together with authors like Andrei Belîi or Daniil Kharms. I am not a great fan of Raskolnikov, but I do love Oblomov. The city has all the ingredients to attract tourists interested in history and arts and the City Pick Guide edited by Heather Reyes and James Rann answers perfectly my curiosities and confirms my thoughts about the city.

Founded relatively recently at the scale of history, in 1703, and aimed to be Russia's Western window to the world, St. Petersburg was inspired by Amsterdam and a bit of London. `Architects in Amsterdam and Rome were cramped for room in which to slot their buildings. But in Petersburg they were able to expand their classical ideals'. (p. 20, The Cultural History of Russia). Vasilevsky Island, for instance, was designed by Le Blond `as an ideal citadel town which would incorporate all life's essentials'. (p. 28)

Russian and world famous literati - Truman Capote, Theophile Gautier, Simone de Beauvoir and Sartre, among others - were there and wrote their memories about the city, with love, admiration or realism. `(...) sometimes this city gives the impression of an utter egoist preoccupied solely with its own appearance', said Joseph Brodsky. Belîi's St. Petersburg is a Chagall world, when the characters seem to fly brought by the fast forward movement of the busy century.

A city of splendour and great expectations, cruel and loveable, the St. Petersburg of the literary world is either the result of short visits, long-term interaction with the city and its inhabitants or purely the result of literary imagination. As in the case of other guides edited by Oxygen books, it is based on a selection of relevant fragments from important authors, covering the architecture, different stages of history - I was expecting a more detailed presentation of the city today, including by the mention of the details of contemporary literary life; the fragments dedicated to the city under siege moved me to tears though -, main personalities and cultural benchmarks - as the world of music and dance.
A literary and cultural map of the Venice of the North 25 Mar. 2013
By Paul E. Richardson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you want a travel guide with neat little lists of places to see, things to do, restaurants to try, this is not for you. This is a different sort of travel guidebook altogether. In fact, it’s not really a guidebook at all, more a literary and cultural map of the Venice of the North - a collection of writings by over 60 western and Russian authors (mostly non-fiction, but there is a healthy dose of fiction as well), all related to this incredible city.

The well-selected readings are curated and bridged together with nice, short introductory texts, and the organization is somewhat chronological, though it is the sort of smorgasbord of offerings that one can dip into at any point, follow the thread for a while, and then hop to another section.

Soon enough, you’ll be making your own “must see” notes in the margin and, before you know it, you will have one of those travel guides filled with little lists...

As reviewed in Russian Life
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