Snowdrops: Book summary and reviews of Snowdrops by A.D. Miller

Snowdrops

A Novel

by A.D. Miller

Snowdrops
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2011
    272 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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About this book

Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"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, it’s 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. Miller’s 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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Reader Reviews

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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.

Bonnie B. (Port St. Lucie, FL)

Moscow - "that city of neon lust and frenetic sin"
' "Snowdrop" said Steve. "Your friend is a snowdrop".
That's what they call them, he told me - that's what they call the bodies that come to light with the thaw. Drunks mostly, and homeless people who give up and lie down in the snow, and the odd vanished murder victim. Snowdrops.'

A. D. Miller has written a compelling noir novel of love, lust, and betrayal in Moscow, where nothing is as it seems. Nick is an attorney currently working in London and this book takes the form of his remembrances of his time in Moscow as he tells them to his English fiancee. It is about how he meets Masha and Katya on the metro and how their lives become intertwined. It is about deals involving oil rigs and selling apartments. The novel is about many things but, ultimately, it is about how far will a man go in deceiving himself that he is doing good when he knows that he is taking part in deceptive and harmful acts.

I could not put the book down. It is a literary page-turner that grabbed me from the get-go. It would be a shame if this does not have a wide readership. It is THAT good.

Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI)

Chillingly wonderful!
A.D. Miller's Snowdrops is a refreshing book full of intrigue. Set in modern-day Moscow, the story concerns a British lawyer who becomes involved with two enticing young women.

The reader smoothly enters another world: feels the gripping cold, gapes at the horror of certain scenes, and becomes emotionally involved with an older woman's plight.

Occasionally, the narrator makes remarks to a listener (presumably, a lover). I found these comments to be very endearing. I only wish the author had done this a bit more frequently.

The writing in this debut novels flows so well; it was such a pleasure to experience. I eagerly await A.D. Miller's next effort!

Eileen E. (Asheville, NC)

Come to the cabaret..
Moscow at the time capitalism begins to take hold is a intoxicating mixture of corruption and celebration. Ultimately, everything is on a downward slide, where greed and sin rule, and no one escapes the temptation. An engrossing read, thought of Gorky Park , the bleakness and the constant snow.

Eileen F. (Ephrata, WA)

Snowdrops
Miller shines in this psychological drama. His debut novel gave me a view clear picture of Moscow. I was able to visualize the city, climate, politics, and characters. Thankfully, he limited his characters in number, so that I wasn't confused attaching the long Russian names to the characters.

Nick, the main character and an attorney, seemed very gullible. I found myself telling him to wake up. This novel would make a good airplane trip read.

Kelly P. (Monterey, TN)

a treat for the imagination.
A. D. Miller has created an atmospheric read which fully immerses the reader in post-soviet Russian society. The characters real, the settings are easy to picture in your head, and the story is plausible. The fact that the author was able to create a constant sense of underlying paranoia though was his best accomplishment. This is truly an immersing tale.

...15 more reader reviews

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More Information

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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