Nick Platt is a British lawyer working in Moscow in the early 2000s - a place where the cascade of oil money, the tightening grip of the government, the jostling of the oligarchs, and the loosening of Soviet social mores have led to a culture where corruption, decadence, violence, and betrayal define everyday life. Nick doesn't ask too many questions about the shady deals he works on - he's too busy enjoying the exotic, surreally sinful nightlife Moscow has to offer.
One day in the subway, he rescues two willowy sisters, Masha and Katya, from a would-be purse snatcher. Soon Nick, the seductive Masha, and long-limbed Katya are cruising the seamy glamor spots of the city. Nick begins to feel something for Masha that he is pleased to think is love. Then the sisters ask Nick to help their aged aunt, Tatiana, find a new apartment.
Of course, nothing is as it seems - including this extraordinary debut novel. The twists in the story take it far beyond its noirish frame - the sordid and vivid portrayal of Moscow serves as a backdrop for a book that examines the irresistible allure of sin, featuring characters whose hearts are as cold as the Russian winter.
"Most readers will not be so easily duped, and Nick's oft-repeated I-should-have seen-it-comings undercut any suspense that might remain, though there are interesting bits to be found in the travelogue-style writing about the new Russia." - Publishers Weekly
"A lesson in the art of self-delusion and the dog-eat-dog society of post-Soviet Russia, its sure to be an instant success. Essential for committed readers of fiction and a discussion feast for book clubs." - Library Journal
"Starred Review. A mesmerizing tale of a man seduced by a culture he fancies himself above, Miller's novel is both a nuanced character study and a fascinating look at the complexities of Russian society." - Booklist
"Good local color, but nothing much to care about here." - Kirkus Reviews
"An electrifying tour of the dark side of Moscow, and of human nature..... the novel is multi-layered; subtle rather than strident, and imbued with a bruised beauty...Miller is masterful at capturing small details....a gorgeously crafted story of a man hurtling into love.....Snowdrops, in a different way, assaults all your senses with its power and poetry, and leaves you stunned and addicted." - The Independent
"The wonderfully evoked corrupt atmosphere of modern Moscow, a dangerous mix of extreme poverty and decadent wealth, of simple old-fashioned values and unrestrained debauchery reads like Graham Greene on steroids ...Tightly written, with fascinating insider detail gained in three years as The Economist magazine's Moscow correspondent, Miller's complex, gripping debut novel is undoubtedly the real thing." - The Daily Mail
"AD Miller's elegant and compact literary thriller...offers an alluring yet chilling portrait of the city...the pleasure of Miller's first novel is divining the precise nature of the deceptions, and self-deceptions, taking place. A superlative portrait of a country in which everything has its price, Snowdrops displays a worldly confidence reminiscent of Robert Harris at his best." - Financial Times
"AD Miller's engrossing debut...offers an entirely believable portrait of a man complicit in Moscow's moral freefall...Miller brilliantly showcases the city as his novel's strutting, charismatic star...rendered with intoxicating vitality. It is a bravura setting for a study in morality...disturbing and dazzling." - Sunday Telegraph
"A deeply atmospheric, slow-burning examination of the effects of modern Russia on the soul of foreign visitors, and of one man's subtle but inexorable slide into moral decay...beautifully drawn and mirrored in several ingenious subplots...Miller is absolutely wonderful at evoking the seediness and cynicism of Moscow...The Russian seasons, from the sadistic winter to the sweltering summer, are evoked with scintillating clarity." - Independent on Sunday
"Strips away the layers of life in the Russian capital with subtle, pitiless grace ... Paced almost ideally, with an atmosphere that scintillates with beguiling menace, Snowdrops deserves...to enjoy substantial popular success." - Literary Review
"A lesson in the art of self-delusion and the dog-eat-dog society of post-Soviet Russia, it's sure to be an instant success. Essential for committed readers of fiction and a discussion feast for book clubs." - Library Journal "Superbly atmospheric....elegantly written, and spot on in detail." - London Observer
"Riveting tale....it is his insider knowledge of the city [that] makes this one stand out." - The Bookseller (UK)
"A tremendously assured, cool, complex, slow-burn of a novel and a bleak and superbly atmospheric portrait of modern Russia." - William Boyd, author of A Good Man in Africa and Ordinary Thunderstorms
"Snowdrops is a beautifully written tale, a confession of evil done not in bloodlust, but in the near passivity of muddling through, of squinting to keep from seeing, and whistling to keep from hearing. By the end of this extremely engaging book, you may almost want to forgive its narrator for all the damage his posture of willful innocence has inflicted upon the world. It's in the awful weight of that 'almost' that A. D. Miller shows his brilliance." - Scott Smith, author of The Ruins
"A chilling first novel about the slide from relative innocence into amorality. I love the honesty of the writing, and the way the furious cold of a bitter Moscow winter gradually emerges as a character in its own right." - Julie Myerson, author of Something Might Happen
"Snowdrops is an irresistible, sophisticated and compelling thriller of darkly delicious Russian corruption and decadence by a writer who truly understands where the corpses lie buried under the pure Russian snows." - Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Sashenka and Young Stalin
"Anybody who has spent any time in Moscow will instantly recognize the city's infamous decadence as well as its attraction in this extraordinarily evocative book - and anybody who has never been there will experience both the lure and the horror of modern Russia." Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag
"This is an impressive debut. Millers taut narrative is a deft mixture of suspense, intrigue and human tragedy. Romantic love, bad faith, self-delusion, cupidity and corruption are fatally entwined in a novel that brilliantly conveys the tawdriness of life in the underbelly of modern Moscow." - Jonathan Dimbleby, author of Russia: A Journey To The Heart Of A Land And Its People
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Rated of 5
Judith B. (N Chelmsford, MA)
Snowdrops by A.D. Miller
Nick Platt seems such a sad sort. We never find out about his past or his future. The book is written as a letter to his fiancee about a time in his life when he lived and practiced law in Moscow. It portrays an eye-opening awareness of modern day Russia and the struggles of citizens who want to create a better world but are continued to be drawn into the corrupt world of their past. Moscow is a city of "hedonism and desperation, corruption and kindness..." The book is an easy read, but I found it imbalanced by portraying just a capsule of the bigger picture of the characters
Rated of 5
Janice M. (Holland, MI)
Twists and turns galore and a feeling of foreboding flow through the pages of Snowdrops. It has an Alfred Hitchcock feel to it - as the reader, you know that things are not what they seem. Unfortunately, the main character, Nick Platt, is taken in by the city and the friends he makes and he continues his relationship with them even when he realizes he is being used. A quick read with an interesting plot and location. I can see this being a good pick for a book club because of the characters and their many flaws.
Rated of 5
Christine P. (Pleasanton, CA)
At the beginning I found this book compelling. I found the descriptions of Moscow and its inhabitants in the early days of capitalism fascinating but dismal at the same time. As I read further, I was put off by the greed and decadence and lack of caring by and for its main character, Nick Platt. I found Nick to be as cold as a Moscow winter. The writing is well done but to classify it as a psychological drama will lead more readers to be disappointed then not. I was hoping for some dramatic ending and felt it fell flat and like Nick Platt longing for something that I just wasn’t going to get.
Rated of 5
Duane F. (Cape Girardeau, MO)
I finished this book and have mulled it over and yet I still find myself unable to decide whether it was a hit or a miss. This is a story of the underbelly of Russian life It plays on your, emotions, pushes your buttons and left me puzzled as to what I wanted from it. It was hard to relate to any of the characters. This alone should have made me put it down, but it did not. From the start the Nick Platt, the lead character, lets us know that there is a deep secret he is going to try and explain and use to justify his actions. His motive seems suspect from the start. This is his confession. He then takes the reader on a ride of intrigue, lust, passion and betrayal.
It is fast paced and believable, yet I came away disappointed. I wanted stronger characters, a real hero... I wanted someone to measure up to my standards for fictional characters. Yet these characters seem like real people and behave like real people and have flaws like real people, just like me. They made selfish choices, deceived the vulnerable and took advantage of a system which set them up to fail rather than flourish... sounds like real life. Was it just a story based on what we believe could only happen in Russia or was it in fact a look too real at what happens to us when we only view the surface and act on immediate impulses?
Perhaps what this book really has to offer is a look at human nature stripped down its basic essence of what we want verses what we need.
What do we want from a book? This one left me with a chill as deep as the Russian cold, looking over my shoulder and looking deeper into the eyes of strangers. Having given us Nick's confession, the author has delivered up a tale with none of the usual suspects, much less the usual outcome.
Rated of 5
Kimberly H. (Stamford, CT)
Snowdrops- Underground in Moscow
Highly recommended - a quick interesting read by a first time author (who writes for the Economist). I felt the author must have experienced something close to this - a very real and fascinating portrait of underground doings in Moscow.
Rated of 5
Carm D. (Omaha, NE)
This was a well written book, I liked the descriptions of places and how the temperature affects peoples moods. I wasn't comfortable with the description of the Russian people, or the people who choose to work there. It seem all are corrupt with no redeeming qualities. It was quite depressing. I wanted someone to be the good guy, but there were no good guys in this story.
A. D. Miller studied literature at Cambridge and Princeton, and worked as a television producer before joining the Economist. He has served as the magazine's Moscow correspondent and is currently an editor in its London office. Snowdrops is his first novel.
Visit the author at snowdropsthenovel.com and Facebook.
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