The St. Petersburg of Shteyngart's Memories: Background information when reading Little Failure

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Little Failure

A Memoir

by Gary Shteyngart

Little Failure
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 368 pages
    Oct 2014, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Poornima Apte

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Beyond the Book:
The St. Petersburg of Shteyngart's Memories

St. Petersburg is known for its gorgeous architecture and rich history. A few of these sights, outlined below, are described in Little Failure.

The Smolny Convent
Smolny ConventIn his memoir, Gary Shteyngart recalls coming upon a coffee-table book at a bookstore in New York City, St. Petersburg: Architecture of the Tsars, with the "baroque blue hues of the Smolny Convent Cathedral practically jumping off the cover." This seemingly chance incident triggers a near nervous breakdown in the author, bringing many childhood memories back to the surface.

The Smolny Convent is most distinguished by its pale blue color and its pride of place on the banks of the river Neva. The complex consists of a central cathedral and satellite churches laid out in a cross-like pattern. Designed by the Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the structure was initially built with the intention of housing Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, when she was to be a nun after being denied succession to the ...

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