14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Snowdrop (n): A corpse that lies buried or hidden in the winter snows, emerging only in the thaw.,
This review is from: Snowdrops (Paperback)
The buried corpse referred to in the tile is only a subplot in this sharp and at times very funny portrayal of the darker aspects of life in Moscow after the fall of `the Evil Empire'.
The city is awash with new (mostly dodgy) money, with newly minted Oligarchs flaunting their flash cars and even flashier women, and into this caldron of corruption stumbles our anti-hero, British corporate lawyer Nick Platt. Nick comes across as a bit of an innocent abroad; although he's in his late 30s he's never had a serious long-term relationship and so a certain type of newly-liberated Russian woman sees him as an easy target. The story is told in the form of a confession written by Nick, now back in the UK, to his fiance shortly before their wedding. There's a real sense of impending doom as he relates how he came to be drawn into the murky world of property scams and corrupt business deals.
Debut novelist Miller doesn't waste his words but still has a wonderfully descriptive turn of phrase - both the grim (but strangely beautiful) snowy Moscow setting and the visual peculiarities of his characters are vividly portrayed (one is described as having "a face like a perplexed potato").
On that note I have to say that at times the characters did feel a little cliched - the women are either hefty shotputter-types or gold-digging would-be prostitutes and the men all seem to be members of the Russian mafia - but as the saying goes "it's a cliché that most clichés are true"! AD Miller worked in Moscow for three years as a correspondent for The Economist and has said in interviews that he never intended 'Snowdrops' to be seen as a true depiction of modern Russian life. With this in mind, I enjoyed it as a very entertaining, perceptive and darkly funny read.