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3.6 out of 5 stars7
3.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(3 star).Show all reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2011
I've seen this billed as a thriller in several places, but it sure isn't very thrilling; and to call it "intense psychological drama" is frankly laughable. It's more in the way of a travelogue about life in Russia. It's very fluently written, and if you're interested in learning about life in post-Communist Moscow, you could probably do quite a bit worse. But as it is mostly a description of the city and what goes on there, with some stereotypical, two-dimensional Russian characters and a couple of obvious, run-of-the-mill Russian scams thrown in (I guess they're supposed to be the "thrill"), to me it often dragged.

That it was nominated for the Booker debases the prize. There is no character development to speak of, and no insight into people or human life. The plot is extremely thin. The writing is highly competent, but nothing more. Surely there were higher-quality novels published in the Commonwealth this year.

This year's Booker controversy surrounded the comment that one panel-member apparently made to the effect that they were looking for "readability" this year. That's about all this book has. I've read three of the listed books so far, and only one, The Sisters Brothers, comes anywhere close to being credible as best book of the year, although even there it's a stretch. Pigeon English was a fun read and often funny, and it was better than Snowdrops; but really it's hard to see it as Booker material either. I think the criticisms of the panel are justified, and I agree with the third paragraph of Paolo's review, below.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 8, 2012
This is an easy to read story just because the prose flows easily. Miller knows how to write. The problem is that his characters and plot are a collection of stereotypes. It is exactly how I would imagine Moscow and the people you are likely to interact with, at my most superficial approach. As a thriller, this book fails as it doesn't build intrigue, suspense or a climax. As a novel, well, the writing is fine, but the characters' shallowness prevents it from transcending. Sorry, but you can skip this one.
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