Excursions Of A Bibliophile

What are u reading these days?

Snowdrops – A.D.Miller

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on September 13, 2011

That’s what they call them – that’s what they call the bodies that come to light with the thaw. Drunks mostly, and homeless people who give up and lie down in the snow and the odd vanished murder victim. Snowdrops

In Russia…. there are no business stories. And there are no politics stories. There are no love stories. There are only crime stories

It is said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The more grotesque the contours of hell that materializes, the nobler and more well intentioned the initial thoughts appear to be. Nowhere is this more palpable than in the sphere of ideological politics involving people, politicians, governments, countries, geographic regions and of late businesses too. Two and half decades ago glasnost and perestroika were probably the most popular words reflecting a fervent hope and possibility of USSR’s tryst with democracy, free market economic principles, liberty and freedom to its citizens. Looking back one cannot but be disappointed at the path erstwhile USSR has taken – 14 states declared their independence from Russia with periodic internecine skirmishes and hostilities, multi-coloured revolutions have swept the region – yellow, orange, pink to name a few (with some habitual monkey business from US and some European countries), massive criminalization of polity, rise in mafia, crime, drug, alcohol abuse and terrorism, plundering of state resources by few individuals and corporations, cancerous corruption, abuse of democratic processes and above all a brutal and precipitous cheapening of the value of human life and deadening of basic human sensibilities. That appears to be the dark transformational outcome

It is this unsavory environment that forms the backdrop to A.D.Miller’s taut, fascinating, contemporary and brilliantly written novel “Snowdrops”. This book grabbed my attention after it made into Booker’s shortlist knocking out on its way to selection such eminent writers like Alan Hollinghurst and Sebastian Barry

Nick, an Englishman and lawyer is posted in Russia to handle the growing business of his law firm in the country on account of booming oil industry. Outside of his work he gets involved with Masha and Katya – two fraudsters who along with an old lady Tatiana dupe Nick. Nick sees telltale signs of this fraud almost from the beginning yet chooses to float along and aid them in their fraud primarily on account of his lust for Masha. It is on account of this desire for Masha that Nick allows to corrupt himself and employ his legal skills in aiding Tatiana sell her flat with fraudulent paper work. It is a corruption that is gradual, matter of fact and free of any guilt and outrage

Miller does a fabulous job in portraying an environment which is ruthless, hedonist, cruel, indifferent to human suffering, corrupt across strata of society, stultified and decadent. That the once great Russian society with its outstanding contribution to the world of literature, science, space research and a hopeful alternative to US in balancing power has allowed to emasculate itself due to erosion of values and direction is a shocker and it is this accurate depiction that is the highlight of this book.

Ray Bradbury once said “Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich in trash as it is in treasures”. Snowdrops to me is one of our modern day treasures and a representative of UK’s ability to throw up brilliant young writing talent with astonishing consistency

A thoroughly enjoyable read and a grim reminder of the fall that societies can witness. Will it win the Booker? Let’s wait and see….

2 Responses to “Snowdrops – A.D.Miller”

  1. Rajesh said

    nice post thank you very very much

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