Snowdrops shortlisted for the Man Booker prize

Reviews of Snowdrops

Newspaper and magazine reviews

Tight, compelling....A totally gripping first novel.

The Times, Kate Saunders

Memorably captures [Moscow's] atmosphere during the glitzy, anything-goes era that succeeded Soviet Communism...Miller's uncluttered prose and feel for the city's Wild West atmosphere are pleasures.

The Seattle Times, Adam Woog

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

AD Miller's elegant and compact literary thriller...offers an alluring yet chilling portrait of the city...the pleasure of Miller's first novel is divining the precise nature of the deceptions, and self-deceptions, taking place. A superlative portrait of a country in which everything has its price, Snowdrops displays a worldly confidence reminiscent of Robert Harris at his best.

The Financial Times, Adrian Turpin

Masterful debut...A mesmerizing tale of a man seduced by a culture he fancies himself above, Miller's novel is both a nuanced character study and a fascinating look at the complexities of Russian society.

Booklist, US

A sense of foreboding pervades this quietly intense novel, set in a freewheeling Russia of the early 21st century....gripping....A lesson in the art of self-delusion and the dog-eat-dog society of post-Soviet Russia, it's sure to be an instant success.....Essential for committed readers of fiction and a discussion feast for book clubs

Library Journal, US

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.

The Sunday Telegraph, Benjamin Evans

AD Miller's mesmerising novel convincingly evokes a hedonistic, seedy modern Moscow; a city simultaneously choked and lubricated with violence and corruption. Expat lawyer Nick's account of his time there is rendered hyperreal with minute details of the rubbish-strewn metropolis. I read Snowdrops with a delicious sense of growing unease.

The Sunday Telegraph, Jodie Mullish (paperback review)

A powerful, morally complex novel set in a world which few of us can imagine. The novel itself mirrors the process of corruption: Miller draws the reader in slowly, compellingly, and weaves a gentle, romantic, cosmopolitan spell, all the while rendering the reader complicit in the events that ultimately transpire, that are going on throughout, just out of view. Genuinely surprising, moving, and ultimately devastating, Snowdrops is a must-read.

Edmonton Journal (Canada), Robert J. Wiersema

If this novel is ever published with a scratch-and-sniff cover--which incidentally, I think it might be successful enough to warrant--this is what it would smell of: cheap petrol, lust, the ripe, acidic scent of decaying corpse, cat litter, $2,000 suits, Cristal champagne, decaying encyclopaedia, corruption, fumes from the power plant, betrayal, sausage. In short, a heady noseful of Moscow, an intoxicating perfume that will whirl you off your feet and set your moral compass spinning...A.D. Miller's sophisticated and many-layered debut novel skewers the relationship between victim and abuser, self-delusion and corruption, love and moral freefall.

The Spectator, Charlotte Hobson

A deeply atmospheric, slow-burning examination of the effects of modern Russia on the soul of foreign visitors, and of one man's subtle but inexorable slide into moral decay...beautifully drawn and mirrored in several ingenious subplots...Miller is absolutely wonderful at evoking the seediness and cynicism of Moscow...The Russian seasons, from the sadistic winter to the sweltering summer, are evoked with scintillating clarity.

The Independent on Sunday, Doug Johnstone

The title of AD Miller's superb debut novel, Snowdrops, derives from a piece of macabre Russian slang. The term refers to buried corpses exposed in the thaw, and Miller uses it as an extended metaphor for his narrator's secrets...Deservedly shortlisted for this year's Man Booker prize, the book can be read as a straightforward thriller, but look closer and it is as multi-layered as a babushka doll. One of its elements is a meditation on the expatriate experience; Miller captures perfectly that strange mixture of befuddlement and liberation that you feel when in another country - and the regrets that linger after you leave.

The Independent on Sunday, David Evans (paperback review)

Beautifully done

The London Evening Standard, William Leith

Classy and engrossing

The Daily Express, Emma Lee-Potter

Platt's voice is truly moving: It's the voice of middle age, of doors closed and years lost, of looking ahead and seeing only more years tinged with regret. Miller truly shines in his depiction of Russian life...he makes you see and feel the glitz, squalor, and violence of Moscow...the bleak beauty of his writing.

Boston Globe, Kevin O'Kelly

...the intrigue of this tale [is] embedded authentically in the scenes, anecdotes and characters of a brutally cold winter during the recent Russian oil boom. The plot behind "Snowdrops" is a scam that snakes its way into the nest of scams that make up Platt's life in Moscow...It leaves the reader at a loss, just like it leaves Platt...This is a good read.

The Post and Courier, Charleston, Bo Petersen

Impressive debut novel...The character of Nicholas is cleverly crafted...Snowdrops is a novel of moral decline and self-delusion. Its intense mix of sex, money, deception and betrayal makes for both engrossing and compulsive reading.

Canberra Times, Australia, Anna Creer

Miller paints a dark picture of Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union and the novel makes for a racy read that is, as the jacket accurately describes it, a psychological drama rather than a more one-dimensional thriller.

Business Day, South Africa, Sanchia Temkin

In turns touching and devastating...Miller's knowledge of Moscow as an intimately acquainted outsider shines through...Miller is at his best capturing the peculiar anesthetizing quality of life for a rudderless expat, one grasping through inertia at the potential for new love and new direction.

Winnipeg Free Press, Lindsey Wiebe

AD Miller's artful and atmospheric first novel...shows him accomplished in control of narrative voice and characterisation.

The Sunday Times, John Dugdale

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

A superb expose of post-Cold War Russia as gangsterland where deadly transactions are merely the world's business being conducted.

The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA), Dan Dervin

The riveting tale of an English lawyer in pre-credit crunch Moscow...Hugely exciting fiction debut from The Economist's former Moscow correspondent...Very impressive.

The Bookseller, UK

Miller's superbly atmospheric debut novel...Elegantly written, and spot on its detail.

The Observer, UK

It is this fallen side of Moscow that makes Miller's novel edgy, readable and even exciting...The reader is sent on an electrifying tour with Nick Platt, a soon to turn 40 British lawyer spending his fourth and last winter in Moscow...Nick's world is inundated with ruthless oligarchs and dodgy business deals, disappearances and cold-blooded murder, violence and erotica.

The Dawn (Pakistan), Razeshta Sethna

Beautifully written and artfully structured, Snowdrops is a superior thriller and an incisive portrait of contemporary Russia.

The South China Morning Post, James Kidd

Among the many attractions of this enormously assured first novel, which is shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, is that it shows the capacity of such a terrible environment to enchant. Miller was The Economist's Moscow correspondent from 2004 to 2007, when oil and crime, both organized and disorganized, made a few individuals stupendously wealthy, and he writes with the authority of someone who lived through those years.

Macleans (Canada), Sarah Murdoch

This excellent debt novel...an intelligent and thoughtful piece of work, more psychological than dramatic, with Miller's evocation of place and character exemplary.

The Big Issue

Told with the gripping propulsion of a Le Carre spy novel and the cool, ironic observation of Chandler...A highly entertaining literary debut. His description is whip-smart, his story as addictive and powerful as chilled vodka and his throbbing Moscow is a worthy update on the classic post-Second World War noir city.

Sainsbury's Magazine

[A] chilling psychological drama....The levels of corruption and duplicity are as deep as the snow banks that line the city...in this ice cold tale of moral degradation.

Marie Claire, UK, Eithne Farry

We were gripped from the first page

Grazia

A natural storyteller, and this seamless thriller demands to be read at a sitting

The Lady Magazine, Stephanie Cross

Intensely gripping

Woman & Home Magazine, Fanny Blake

From the web

The narrative poses a question, too, a question that grows more urgent as the things Miller describes grow more horrifying: Will you still love me once you know who I am? Will you still love me even though I am incapable of loving myself? Miller's language is exact and unadorned, and so chilling to the bone. This is also a great book for understanding certain things about Russia -- just don't read it if you are planning to visit anytime soon.

Masha Gessen, Barnes & Noble review

Snowdrops is a powerful novel that is very difficult to put down. Nick's voice is the voice of human weakness; those of us who talk a good game until it comes time to stand up and be counted, those of us who would just as soon not know the truth, and if we happen upon it accidentally would just as likely look the other way. We know the snowdrops are there.

Jack Goodstein, Blogcritics.org

An intriguing debut, suffused with an atmosphere of dread.

The Millions

Snowdrops features some fantastic Russian scenery, but it's more than a tour of Russian in decay; it's a tour of a soul in decay. Perhaps yours.

Bookotron

Miller's descriptions of what his characters are wearing and how that plays off against their personalities, is worth the read of the book. I've never seen it done better...Being a top-flight journalist must have contributed to the reportage in this suspense novel that you can't put down.

Three Guys One Book

The debut author has set the bar high for anyone who will follow. Like Hemingway, Miller shows what can be accomplished when a journalist sets his heart on fiction, crafting a tale that is truer than truth.

The Best Damn Creative Writing Blog

This is a cracking story told in crisp and engaging prose. I thoroughly enjoyed it. A rather classy, atmospheric thriller-type read. Recommended.

The Bookbag

A.D. Miller's noir thriller is nearly impossible to put down once started...This is the best kind of literary thriller and page-turner - one that is intelligent, complex and rewarding.

MostlyFiction

Incredibly evocative...a narrative so understated, yet one that moves on with such a compelling drive that I read the book in two long sittings....I was riveted.

dovegreyreader

Advance praise

A tremendously assured, cool, complex, slow-burn of a novel and a bleak and superbly atmospheric portrait of modern Russia.

William Boyd

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, Pulitzer-prize winning author of Gulag

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

Snowdrops is a beautifully written tale, a confession of evil done not in bloodlust, but in the near passivity of muddling through, of squinting to keep from seeing, and whistling to keep from hearing. By the end of this extremely engaging book, you may almost want to forgive its narrator for all the damage his posture of willful innocence has inflicted upon the world. It's in the awful weight of that "almost" that A. D. Miller shows his brilliance.

Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins

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

Miller's taut narrative is a deft mixture of suspense, intrigue and human tragedy. Romantic love, bad faith, self-delusion, cupidity and corruption are fatally entwined in a novel that brilliantly conveys the tawdriness of life in the underbelly of modern Moscow.

Jonathan Dimbleby

Reviews of Snowdrops audiobook

Kevin Howarth reads Snowdrops, AD Miller's strong and gripping debut, in the sad, low, confidential tones of a confessional account, written by Nick Platt to his fiancée, of the disastrous time he spent in Moscow before he met her...Miller's style is witty, zeugmatic and often urbane - Ikea, we learn, is as common in Moscow as "death, tax-evasion and cirrhosis" - and the atmosphere of deep-frozen winter and of almost universal corruption is shudderingly tangible.

The Independent on Sunday, Sue Gaisford

The real protagonist of this elegant tale is the bleak Moscow winter that lawyer Nick lives through, its piles of filthy snow revealing corpses - or "snowdrops" - with the thaw. As Nick falls for Masha, it's obvious to the listener that she is up to no good, but exactly what it is tautens the slow-burn suspense. Moscow's vivid atmosphere, with its menace and rife corruption, is heightened by the narrator's Russian-accented dialogue and the liberal sprinkling of contemporary Russian language. I loved it.

The Observer, Rachel Redford

[A] dark first novel about cupidity, corruption and self-delusion...lust triumphs over ethics and [the narrator] allows himself to freefall into moral depravity. Taut, exciting, atmospheric - what a debut.

The Guardian, Sue Arnold