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Snowdropsby A. D. Miller
Synopses & Reviews
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 glamour 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.
"Things may not be what they appear, but they turn out to be exactly what readers will predict in this saggy debut about shady business deals in go-go capitalist Russia. Nick Platt, a lawyer who has traded his dull British life for pushing paper in Moscow, soon takes up with a leggy young Russian about whom he knows nothing and, at her behest, helps a babushka trade her fabulous apartment for a half-built place in the country. The deal seems like a scam, and, of course, it is, but Nick is blinded by lust and nearly always a step behind the reader. He blithely gets involved in a multimillion-dollar loan for an oil pipeline brokered by a dodgy fellow known only as 'the Cossack,' even after a key player goes missing. 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. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
An intense psychological drama that echoes sophisticated entertainments like Gorky Park and The Talented Mr. Ripley.
"[An] assured fiction debut....[Miller] memorably captures the city's atmosphere during the glitzy, anything-goes era that succeeded Soviet Communism....Miller's uncluttered prose and feel for the city's Wild West atmosphere are pleasures." The Seattle Times
"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 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
"Compelling narrative voice....Andrew Miller shines in his depiction of Russian life....[and] deserves full credit for being able to transfer his knowledge to the page. He makes you see and feel the glitz, squalor, and violence of Moscow...[with] bleak beauty of his writing." Boston Globe
About the Author
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.
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