Wednesday, March 23, 2011 Posted by Dina N
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.
Snowdrops is a debut novel that sounds surprisingly mature. It's also a compelling page turner that I read in two days. The descriptions of Moscow life are profoundly insightful. Most of the characters are under the spell of the Wild East - with all the temptations that money, crime and disorder have to offer. The story is told from point of view of Nick, a British expat who is a corporate lawyer working in Moscow in the early 2000s. While his job entails legal but not exactly moral obligations, his actions in his personal life start off as mostly innocent. After he meets and falls in love with Masha, a beautiful Russian girl, Nick starts to gradually slip deeper into the gray area between right and wrong, until he is in well over his head. He is a basically good person who - like it sometimes happens in life - becomes guilty by inaction or association, by omission or silence, until it is too late to go back.
Thanks to Doubleday Publishing, two (2) lucky readers will win a copy of Snowdrops by A.D. Miller!
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Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the publisher or PR firm.