I’ve finally got around to reading AD Miller’s Snowdrops. I bought it when the Man Booker shortlist was first announced but it has sat on my book pile ever since as I never quite fancied reading it. Proof of the purchasing power of Man Booker nominees I guess. With a 4 hour coach journey lying ahead of me, I packed the book and read most of it on my trip and finished it this morning. I’ve only had a quick look at some other reviews but I think I would concur with many of them – there are a lot better thrillers out there.
I know that some people have criticised the style of writing. This didn’t bother me too much once I had got into the book. I think it echoed some of the sparseness of the Moscow landscape and the bareness of expat existence. And it was this aspect of the novel that was most convincing. I too have lived as an expat in a foreign country where the only decent furniture can be found in Ikea and the culture of the country can isolate you from your moral framework. It’s just a shame that the plot didn’t give justice to the power of the writing.
Not wanting to spoil the book for those who haven’t read it, suffice to say you would have to be a complete idiot to fall for the scam of the central narrative. And once more the quotations on the back cover don’t help. “Graham Greene on steroids” it isn’t. It makes me want to hark back to the Russia of John Le Carre where a modicum of cunning was needed just to survive the Cold War machinations. That said, I’m off to see the new adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy tonight. I can’t wait.