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Snowdrops: A Novel [Paperback]

Andrew Miller
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 7 2011
Nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Nick Platt is an English lawyer living in Moscow during the wild Russian oil boom. Riding the subway on a balmy September day, he rescues two willowy sisters, Masha and Katya, from a would-be purse snatcher. Nick soon begins to feel something for Masha that he is pleased to believe is love. As the snow starts to fall, the sisters introduce him to Tatiana Vladimirovna, their aged aunt and the owner of a valuable apartment. Before summer arrives, Nick will travel down to the sweaty Black Sea and up to the Arctic, and he'll make disturbing discoveries about his job, his lover and, most of all, himself. Snowdrops is a fast-paced drama that unfolds during a beautiful but lethally cold Russian winter. Ostensibly a story of naive foreigners and cynical natives, the novel becomes something richer and darker: a tale of erotic obsession, self deception and moral freefall. It is set in a land of hedonism and desperation, corruption and kindness, magical hideaways and debauched nightclubs; a place where secrets, and corpses, come to light when the snows thaw.

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From Amazon

SHORTLISTED for the 2011 Man Booker prize

SHORTLISTED for the 2011 CWA Gold Dagger, for best crime novel of the year

SHORTLISTED for the Galaxy National Book Awards Audiobook of the Year Best Books of 2011, Top 100 Editor's Picks Best Books of 2011, Mysteries & Thrillers

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“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

"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

“Miller's debut novel is an electrifying tour of the dark side of Moscow, and of human nature. . . . The overriding theme is corruption and the way that morals can become corroded, but the novel is multi-layered; subtle rather than strident, and imbued with a bruised beauty. . . . He is masterful at capturing small details. . . . A gorgeously crafted story of a man hurtling into love. . . . Snowdrops assaults all your senses with its power and poetry, and leaves you stunned and addicted.” -- The Independent, Leyla Sanai

“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, John Harding

“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 . . . unforgettable.” --Sunday Telegraph, Benjamin Evans

“The plot charts [Nick's] downscaling of hopes and ambitions with chilling efficiency. . . . A very good novel. . . . The writing has tremendous pace and energy. . . . [Nick is] amusing, compellingly honest company. . . . A powerful warning of the dangers of staring at something so long that you stop noticing what you're seeing.” --The Guardian, John O'Connell

“Snowdrops 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.” --The Literary Review, Jonathan Barnes

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Snowdrops are the homeless in Moscow who die on the streets and are found lying in the snow in the winter. Mr. Miller’s story is the story of one of these snowdrops. Nick Platt is an expat lawyer who trades his dead-end life for the novelty, corruption and big bucks that can be made in Russia. Lonely and unattractive, Nick is the perfect target for the con that is to be played on an elderly woman whose large apartment in central Moscow becomes a target for those knowing the fortune that can be earned upon its acquisition. “Snowdrops” is a story about Moscow, Russia and the corruption and the personal tragedies that result. This is a book that needs to be read by those who have an interest in the new Russia.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Snowdrops Jan. 6 2012
By Pithy
An excellent book, entertaining & thought provoking, however, unmatched by the plot. A complete steady plot brought successfully to the punchline title but overall, muted. Hopefully he finds a plot equal to his writing in his next book. The Russian setting becomes a living thing. Written with an authentic, acerbic, negative feel that brings life somehow, not in a tired contrarian sense. A fine writer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Remind me to avoid Moscow March 17 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I enjoyed this very much although I agree that the characters feel a little like 2D stereotypes. That said, there is little question that Moscow is the real character here. If I were the Russian tourist board, I'd be pretty unhappy. The descriptions of the people and places are fascinating but have put me off visiting entirely! Four stars for the easy read and credible descent of the willing protagonist.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The less you know... Oct. 17 2011
By Friederike Knabe TOP 100 REVIEWER
Moscow at the turn of this century could be a dangerous place: almost anything could be bought or extracted for a price, and many people were, for one reason or another, in on some deal or scheme to get ahead in the business of money, comfort or influence. Life was also fragile, people disappeared without a trace, only to turn up as "snowdrops" during the spring thaw. With his debut novel, SNOWDROPS, AD Miller delves into the unfettered, yet also manipulated, period of early capitalism in Russia that followed the collapse of the Soviet regime. Part crime, part love story, Miller's fast-paced, fluidly written and engaging novel combines these elements within a chilling psychological portrait of an expatriate corporate lawyer, who has been living comfortably in "wild Moscow". Miller's book is on the shortlist for this year's Man Booker Prize.

These are the Russian "gold-rush days", and Nick, Nicolai Ivanovich to the locals, a British lawyer, is caught up in financial and other dealings in more ways than one. Despite slowly realizing that all may not be as it appears with his new girlfriend, Masha, her sister Katya and Tatiana Vladimirovna, their aunt, and warnings from his cynical journalist friend, Steven Walsh, he cannot extricate himself from their influence. Rather, Nick prefers to adopt the popular advice of the day "the less you know, the longer you live".

In his business dealings Nick is as gullible, going with the flow: "Money in Moscow had its own particular habits", he muses by way of explanation and justification for his actions. "Money knew that someone in the Kremlin might decide to take it back at any moment..." Nick writes his story with hindsight, confessing "all, as honestly as I can", to his soon to be wife (he hopes).
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