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Snowdrops

3.26  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,797 Ratings  ·  885 Reviews
A.D. Miller's Snowdrops is a riveting psychological drama that unfolds over the course of one Moscow winter, as a thirty-something Englishman's moral compass is spun by the seductive opportunities revealed to him by a new Russia: a land of hedonism and desperation, corruption and kindness, magical dachas and debauched nightclubs; a place where secrets - and corpses- come t ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published 2011 by Atlantic Books
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The Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesThe Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWittBefore I Go to Sleep by S.J. WatsonWhen God was a Rabbit by Sarah WinmanThe Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Man Booker Prize Eligible 2011
12th out of 155 books — 272 voters
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWittThe Sense of an Ending by Julian BarnesOn Canaan's Side by Sebastian BarrySnowdrops by A.D. MillerFar to Go by Alison Pick
MAN BOOKER PRIZE LONGLIST 2011
4th out of 13 books — 20 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Blair
I actually bought this book several months ago; a handful of good reviews combined with the setting, Moscow (I've been fascinated with Russia since my teens, and wrote my university dissertation on the Russian presidency) piqued my interest, but somehow I never got around to reading it. I only remembered it after learning that it's one of the thirteen books on the longlist for this year's Man Booker Prize. Billed as 'an intensely riveting psychological drama', Snowdrops follows about a year in t ...more
Mark
Aug 10, 2014 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Russian oligarchs
Recommended to Mark by: Well certainly not Vladimir Putin
'I smelled it before I saw it'.

This is the opening line and, apart from his odd use of the word 'smelled' instead of the more usual 'smelt' which grated on me a little, it is a great way to begin this novel which is all about not only the smell that rises off this newly uncovered and, at the beginning of the novel, unknown corpse but also the gradual rise of the stench of corruption not just from the government, officialdom and thugs of 21st Century Moscow but also the way our narrator Nick, an
...more
Cheryl
Oct 14, 2011 Cheryl rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, russian
Thank god the font was big and the lines were almost double-spaced.

This story is really about Moscow. The people-characters are just props; the real characters are the city and the weather and the lawless society.
“The characters are flat, stereotypical creatures, but I havent figured out if this is an intended character flaw of the narrator, or if it is the author's intention as an auteur to convey something deeper or so far hidden, or if it just simply represents workmanlike craft, and is what
...more
Maciek
The Booker nomination for this novel is a surprise; essentially, it is a rather unsurprising and mostly mediocre thriller with bits of good prose, few surprises and ultimately little payoff. Why was it chosen by the Booker committee as important enough to be included in the shortlist?

The structure of the novel reminded me of Martin Amis's House of MeetingsSnowdrops is an English lawyer trying to fit in contemporary Moscow, and addresses his experiences to an unnamed fiancee.

The author was a fo
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 23, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 2011 Booker Shortlist
This is my first book about Russia post-USSR meltdown. A. D. Miller is a British expat, being The Economist magazine correspondent assigned to work for 3 years in Russia in the early 2000's. His storytelling is straightforward, his sentences are short but full of sense and this story is believable. His use of Russia as a backdrop with its snow is just bewildering that reminded me of those white-everywhere scenes in Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago.

I have read a good chunk of Booker-winning and s
...more
Szplug
Feb 21, 2012 Szplug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First off, Miller did himself no favors by bestowing upon this book—and it's a beautiful design, wintry fresh with that inveigling top photo-blend of a miniscule, bundled-up couple traipsing across a walled corner of a desolate and frigid Red Square that is slowly fading to gray—the saccharinely absurd title of Snowdrops. It's the rubric one would give to a tale of candied bunny rabbits and cavity-filled teeth—with perhaps a little meth tossed in to give it some scratch—in a laminated child's ro ...more
·Karen·
Apr 12, 2012 ·Karen· rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brits
Dear Mr Miller

May I congratulate you on your debut novel, which I have just read and thoroughly enjoyed? It is, indeed, gripping and fairly addictive, precisely as the reviews promise. The plotting is beautifully crafted, those hints of the disaster to come are dropped to devastating effect. Thriller, yes, but a literary one too: you have a wonderfully expressive lick of language that tickles and delights, and the pleasure that your writing affords is more than the hedonistic joy of a rollicking
...more
James Thane
Dec 04, 2011 James Thane rated it really liked it
Shelves: noir
A British lawyer, Nicholas Platt, is working in Moscow in the hectic, free-for-all, Wild East days of the new Russia. By day he helps negotiate huge bank loans to facilitate Russia's economic development. These deals involve a number of shady characters and questionable assumptions, but Nick is caught up in the free-wheeling, anything goes climate, and whatever moral scruples he might have brought with him from the UK are quickly eroding. The same is true of his personal life as Nick gets caught ...more
Melanie Garrett
Oct 06, 2011 Melanie Garrett rated it really liked it
I first heard about this novel on The Review Show on BBC2 and was intrigued enough by the discussion to break my resolution about not buying any more books until (a) they were available for Sony eReader; and (b) I was ready to read them.

But right from the exquisite jacket design, I was so gripped with this book that I decided a physical copy was in order. I picked up Sunday evening, and would have happily read it in one sitting if only life hadn’t been so tortuously in the way.

As first time nov
...more
Darryl
Nov 17, 2011 Darryl rated it did not like it
This novel, which was curiously shortlisted for the 2011 Booker Prize, is set in Moscow during the go-go 1990s, when the Russian economy opened up to foreign investment, and a select few became multi-millionaires. The narrator is a 38 year old British lawyer whose firm has sent him there to negotiate corporate deals and make money for the firm's clients. He sees a robbery taking place on a Moscow Metro station, and prevents a thief from robbing the purse of a young Russian beauty. Naturally, the ...more
Igor
Apr 23, 2011 Igor rated it did not like it
Extremely shallow.
It looks like the author spent some time in Moscow (and Moscow is not Russia, there is a huge difference between the two, which is not highlighted in the book), listened to a few ex-pat stories and came up with the book.
Since it is not deep enough, sometimes you encounter funny moments like one of the girls telling the main character that her father worked on an ice-breaker called "Petrograd" during soviet times. Anyone with a basic knowledge of Russian history would have under
...more
Natalie
Jun 07, 2016 Natalie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
Oni koji traže akciju, napetost u ovoj priči neće dobiti ni doživjeti. U potrazi sam za dinamikom tako da ovdje nisam to dobila. Lijepo je pisano ali usporeno prepričavanje. Baš sam se pitala zašto ima tako nisku ocjenu na GR? ...eto sada znam.
Samantha Lee
Jul 13, 2011 Samantha Lee rated it really liked it
I'm genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It's by no means a fast paced psychological thriller but it is compulsive reading and it had me wanting to turn the pages (or at list click through on the Kindle!).

The story is a reflection, by the main character (Nick), of his time in Moscow as a young lawyer. It's told by way of a narrative to his fiance which in itself is interesting given the events that follow! He meets and falls in love with a Russian girl and experiences the hedoni
...more
Shovelmonkey1
Snowdrops are the dead, who appear like the eponymous spring flower as the winter snows recede from the winter wonderland of moscow's streets. Except they are not flowers, they're frozen corpses and the difference between blooming and rotting is quite a distinct one that even the most inexperienced botanist or ardent fan of spring watch would be hard pushed to miss.

None of the characters in the book are particularly likeable so you won't spend a lot of time sympathising about their plight or vod
...more
Lorenzo Berardi
It seems like initials rather than first names are a token for success in the English speaking literature. Let's think about J.R.R. Tolkien, P.G. Wodehouse, H.G. Wells, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden and, more recently, to J.K. Rowling.

This is probably what A.D. (Andrew Dylan? Annus Domini? Arkady Dandy?) Miller has thought while choosing his nom de plume: "If I do that, if I omit my birth names and replace them with capitol letters, then I have more chances of entering the pantheon of the successful no
...more
Lisa
Sep 08, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
This year’s Booker shortlist has somehow passed me by, but longlisted Snowdrops interested me because it’s set in Russia and I’ve embarked on a bit of a Russian Readathon in preparation for my trip next year. However, I’m hoping that the author has taken a good deal of fictional licence with his setting, because it paints an alarming picture of post-Communist Moscow. (Ubiquitous drunken taxi-drivers, for a start!)

It’s a psychological thriller, quick and easy to read, though not quite unputdownab
...more
TC
Sep 30, 2011 TC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I noticed this book when it was shortlisted for this year's Man Booker prize, and was drawn to it by the description as "an intensely riveting psychological drama" My luck with award winners is a bit mixed, and I quite liked another of the short-listed books, Pigeon English so thought I would give this a go.

The book is narrated by Nicholas, in the form of a confession to his betrothed, relating the events of his last winter in Russia. He was working as a lawyer, with the transfer to Russia a pot
...more
ALPHAreader
Feb 11, 2011 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing
‘Snowdrops’ is the debut novel from British writer, A D Miller.

Nick Platt is a British lawyer living and working in Moscow, Russia. The city is a hedonistic dream – nightclubs, women and with enough money you can get anything you desire. Moscow is a playground for wealthy businessmen, ex-KGB and one lonely Pommie ex-pat.
One night, Nick meets and beds two beautiful Russian women, and falls in love with one of them (‘Masha’ to her friends). To help Masha’s aunt, Nick gets involved in the Russian
...more
jeniwren
Sep 25, 2011 jeniwren rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, booker-prize
The setting for this novel is Russia, gloomy dark and covered in snow. The tone is menacing with a heady mix of corruption which begins with our protagonist Nicholas an English lawyer and a chance meeting with two 'predatory' women. This encounter sets in motion shady dealings with Nicholas slowly losing his grip on morality. Told as a confession to his future bride to be and as a means of gaining some insight into his amoral behaviour.

This is a fine debut and I was gripped from beginning to end
...more
Friederike Knabe
Oct 17, 2011 Friederike Knabe rated it really liked it
Shelves: ce-europe, uk-lit
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 ...more
Sam Piper
Oct 23, 2011 Sam Piper rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book!

Read it as part of the annual attempt to read at least some of the Booker books before the winner is announced and was really impressed. It is well written and the monologue voice is actually really compelling (although part of me would have liked to have seen his fiancee's - increasingly horrified I hope - reaction to his revelations!).

Set in 200s Russia, it revolves around a lawyer, his relationship with a local Russian girl (described in more detail than I'd have thou
...more
Mary (BookHounds)
I was thoroughly fascinated by this book. I still can't figure out why I liked it so much since the pace of the story was slow for me, but the writing is so perfectly beautiful that it will mesmerize you. The story it written as a letter from an English lawyer named Nicholas to his fiance revealing an indiscretion that even he can't truly explain except to say that he was used by a woman that had bewitched him. Masha sails into Nicholas' life and convinces him to help complete the sale of some p ...more
Jessica
Nov 02, 2011 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, arc-egalley
My friend Katie was on a kick to read the Man Booker shortlist this year, and she recommended this book to me. Really, Katie? I love you, but, really?

This book is, I think, intended to be a noir thriller set in modern(ish)-day Moscow. Nick Platt is an ex-pat British lawyer who rescues two Russian women from a purse snatcher and takes the opportunity to boink Masha, the older sister. Nick is then pulled into some sort of scheme, but I honestly gave up before I got to a point where I could underst
...more
Christine
Jan 03, 2011 Christine rated it it was ok
I got this book as an advance readers copy. At first, I found the book compelling and the descriptions of Moscow and its inhabitants in the early days of capitalism fascinating. As I read further, I was put off by the greed, decadence and lack of caring by and for its main character, Nick Platt. Even the landscapes as well as the writing became dismal and cold. The cover is beautiful with a woman hiding behind the cutout of a snowdrop but what I found deceiving was this book being categorized as ...more
LeeAnn Heringer
It is only by accident that I read anything off the Man Booker Awards, winner or short list, because they go for Literature with a capital L, difficult complex books. And this book is not the taut suspense that some reviews promised. Instead, like a Graeme Green novel, it's the tale of a man who lost himself in the expat experience. Who sees what's happening, sees his moral compass being bent, but looks away because he's in too deep, the honey trap hook has been set.

In particular, the dialog is
...more
Ruby Soames
Oct 25, 2011 Ruby Soames rated it it was amazing
This would have been my Man Booker Winner and it certainly cancels out the argument of whether you can be 'readable' and 'literary' at the same time. It's a psychological thriller which has depth and intrigue, narrated by the dupe of a crime and the spurned lover of a relationship. The 'Snowdrops' of the title refer to Stalin's murder victims whose bodies were revealed as the snows started to melt in the Spring, but it's also a metaphor for what is revealed about us when love begins to thaw and ...more
Adrian
Aug 07, 2011 Adrian rated it it was amazing
I'm absolutely floored beyond words. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book to death. The lyrical prose and its surreptitiously devastating aura are simultaneously noxious and edifying! The book to beat for 2011. Hope it gets more accolades than the Booker, because it deserves so much more.
cameron
This is not great literature but it's a hell of a read. The expectations one has of modern Russia, the realities, the violence, the swarming for huge amounts of investment cash, the tawdry social life...all open their arms to one British lawyer who joins his firm's satellite office to wheel and deal. It's full of a sad sense of an "after the apocalypse" story but is also bursting with complications, unexpected crises, chilling fatalism and a final ironic and somewhat humorous climax. Thoroughly ...more
Raja Ram
Apr 12, 2015 Raja Ram rated it it was ok
I was interested in this book as I have always been curious about visiting Moscow. I found the authors negative take on Russia disappointing - the story was written based upon exposure of or research into living in Russia however the negativity just played to stereotypes. The description of the mechanisms of global business were impressive.

I hated the predictable outcome and just found the lead characters response to events unbelievable. I ultimately dislike stories that lack credibility. Pity a
...more
Liam
Oct 13, 2011 Liam rated it really liked it
Snowdrops is the debut novel and Man Booker prize nominee from AD Miller. The story follows a British lawyer called Nick Platte, who has been living and working in Moscow for several years (he's basically one of those expats who isn’t happy with his life but would be even unhappier if he went home).

One summer afternoon he saves a girl named Masha and her sister Katya from a mugging in the underground and soon becomes Masha’s lover; however there is a mysteriousness behind the two girls which slo
...more
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Radio Review 1 5 Jan 09, 2015 04:02AM  
Do you need to like the protagonist to like the book? 7 58 Jan 14, 2013 04:07PM  
Around the World: Russia - Snowdrops 13 24 Dec 11, 2011 07:58PM  
  • Derby Day
  • The Last Hundred Days
  • A Cupboard Full of Coats
  • Jamrach's Menagerie
  • The Testament of Jessie Lamb
  • Pigeon English
  • On Canaan's Side
  • I'll Go to Bed at Noon
  • In a Strange Room
  • Far to Go
  • Umbrella
  • Half Blood Blues
  • Communion Town
  • The Quickening Maze
  • The Lighthouse
  • Skios
  • Swimming Home
  • The Yips
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A.D. Miller was born in London in 1974. He studied literature at Cambridge and Princeton, where he began his journalistic career writing travel pieces about America. Returning to London, he worked as a television producer before joining The Economist to write about British politics and culture. In 2004 he became The Economist's correspondent in Moscow, travelling widely across Russia and the forme ...more
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“That's what I learned when my last Russian winter thawed. The lesson wasn't about Russia. It never is, I don't think, when a relationship ends. It isn't your lover that you learn about. You learn about yourself.” 7 likes
“Those days when our watch sees to take lazy age over each minute, and there is always so much time left, so little passed, since the last time you looked. And then at the end, when you're suddenly nervous and want to back out, the time goes in a rush and it's now.” 6 likes
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