Book - 2011
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SHORTLISTED for the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction

An intense psychological drama that echoes sophisticated entertainments like Gorky Park and The Talented Mr. Ripley.

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.
Publisher: New York : Double Day, 2011
Edition: First ed
ISBN: 9780385533447
Branch Call Number: FICTION Miller
Characteristics: 262 p. : 20 cm
Alternative Title: Snowdrops : a novel


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Apr 15, 2016

Beautifully written.
Some of the best fiction I have read in years. Should have won the Booker for which it was shortlisted.

Nov 04, 2013

Great read. Unputdownable. His writing style is so smooth. A touch of humour and an admission of failure by a naive Britisher. His image as a man with a stiff upper lip is no more. .

Apr 23, 2013

On the book's website states that descriptions of places, events and people in the novel are both accurate and distorted, likewise, some aspects of recent Russian history have been slightly altered. But I would say that because of the misunderstanding of Russian traditions and because of not enough knowledge of the Russian people due to short stay in Moscow and mostly because of relations with the "new" Russians, facts and Russian characters are not distorted slightly, but strongly enough. In my opinion this book - it's not exactly work of art, it is likely notes and memories of the short-term stay in Moscow and own impressions, built on purely subjective perception of the cold winter. The author does not understand the difference between culture and etiquette. I really did not like the description of the clothing the people of ordinary Muscovites - absolute mockery of the people who are struggling to live normal life on the minimum income. I mean - "coats as if made ​​from the fur of the old cat", which Russian women are wearing in winter; or for example, fake Louis Vuitton bags, or cheap leather winter boots, men's trousers made in Belarus ... And for sure Russians do not speak at every meal about Gulag. This book gives you a sense of a mockery about everything that the main character of the book (and I guess the author himself) does not understand - how Russians drink tea, what are they eating and how they are serving food, clothing they are wearing etc. And even the great monuments in the book are described with a sneer. But, as the author states:
“It’s a strange country, Russia, with its talented sinners and occasional saint, bona fide saints that only a place of such accomplished cruelty could produce, a crazy mix of filth and glory”.

Dec 15, 2012

A really interesting picture of the corruption of Russia and a very well-written story. Really enjoyed it.

May 20, 2012

Not a lot new about Russia's never-ending history of corruption. The main character would probably have made the same choices in any country. It was relatively boring and an effort to finish reading.

May 02, 2012

This is the story of a British corporate lawyer in Moscow over a Russian winter. There are scams on all levels and a loss of moral sense. It captures the tawdry nature of this society at this point in time. A very good read.

Manddwilson Mar 03, 2012

Brit ex pat in Russia; pervasive corruption in Russia

Feb 28, 2012

Not finished. 3 stars

Nov 23, 2011

Fascinating book - descent into amorality indeed.

Nov 14, 2011

For all the praise, I found it boring and blandly written.

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