I first heard about this novel on The Review Show on BBC2 and was intrigued enough by the discussion to break my resolution about not buying any books until a they were available for Sony eReader and b I was ready to read them.But right from the exquisite jacket design, I was so gripped with this book that I decided a physical copy was in order I picked up Sunday evening, and would have happily read it in one sitting if only life hadn t been so tortuously in the way As first time novels go, this is an enormous achievement The prose is dazzling and Moscow is evoked in a way that makes this the Gorky Park of the new millennium The plot is entirely linear, and is essentially the inevitable forward motion of one man s failure to swerve any of the moral hazards he encounters while working as an expat lawyer in Russia The narrator is very clear about what a flawed and cowardly creature he is, and yet it is a joy to read on because of the insights he offers into Russian culture and society As someone who has lived and worked as an expat in two European countries, I felt this book really nailed that heady sense of possibility that comes with the early stages of living abroad the feeling that you can be who you want to be, run risks you never would normally take because you ve stepped out of time for a bit.To me, this was neatly underlined by the notion that the text was effectively a long, confessional letter from the narrator to his fianc e During discussion on The Review Show there were those who felt this narrative conceit didn t quite work, but personally I found it added real resonance to the novel By quietly reminding us now and then that the narrator did actually want his wife to be to have a good opinion of him, and to accept him depraved past and all, we were reminded that the real stakes here are moral jeopardy Depravity is only interesting if those engaging in it have their doubts, and so find their own behaviour wanting All in all, this a novel to thoroughly enjoy and admire, and I would have given this five stars if not for two things which began to grate by the end Firstly, I d have been happier if the two parallel strands of the plot had amplified each other in some way, rather than simply being two different examples of the same character s moral indifference Secondly, I found the prose relied a bit too heavily on unwarranted foreshadowing, which then tended not to deliver as big a bang as promised somehow.But overall, there is no shortage of things for the reader to be gripped by, and to admire I only hope A.D Miller is out there somewhere right now putting the finishing touches on his next novel. The Booker nomination for this novel is a surprise essentially, it is a rather unsurprising and mostly mediocre thriller with bits of good prose, few surprises and ultimately little payoff Why was it chosen by the Booker committee as important enough to be included in the shortlist The structure of the novel reminded me of Martin Amis s House of MeetingsSnowdrops is an English lawyer trying to fit in contemporary Moscow, and addresses his experiences to an unnamed fiancee The author was a foreign correspondent for The Economist who lived in Russia for three years, and is eager to show his knowledge of the country with multiple descriptions of various details of life in the city the experience of walking along one of the gorgeous metro stations, the particular feeling of late summer and early autumn Moments like this are scattered throughout the book, but are not enough to make it worth reading the story he tells is simply not engaging enough, and the characters are not particularly interesting.The main protagonist, Nick Platt, is a thirtysomething English lawyer who lives a rather aimless existence in Russia of the 1990 s the newly established corporate sector is booming, and foreign banks are competing to give loans to emerging businesses corruption thrives and shady deals are necessary to get anything done it is in this world that Nick witnesses a young woman being robbed at a Metro station, and decides to help her which introduces him to Masha and her sister Katya Although he doesn t speak much Russian, he becomes acquainted with the two sisters and soon develops a deep interest in Masha or rather a fascination bordering on obsession, being drawn to the girl like moth to a flame.The main problem with the story comes with the author s choice of structure Nick is writing down the events that he has already experienced, and from his tone it is obvious from the beginning that the flame burned him I do not particularly see the point of addressing his notes to a fiance who is not even given a name she does not appear as a character in any form, nor does Nick give away any details regarding her character or events from their relationship She simply does not exist, and Nick s confession could have just been as well addressed to a complete stranger.Nick is not a very engaging and interesting character as well no one is He comes off as a stereotypical, aimless expatriate looking for some point of focus, but without much effort The main love interest is an exotic, foreign woman, whose foreignness is the maddening force which blooms into open obsession at one point Nick remarks about a mysterious asiatic smile It doesn t matter that Masha does not show that she is interested in Nick, and does little to encourage him to pursue her in any way although this can be explained as a deliberate choice made by the author, it largely exposes his plot choices and makes them obvious for the reader to see.As mentioned, A.D Miller spent three years in Russia and is obviously interested in the country he writes about it as if he wanted to impress his readers with how many details he managed to collect during his stay there mostly about the multitude of various cultures that one can encounter inside it This leads to the country not becoming a natural setting but rather like a propped background made to resemble the thing, but not allowed to develop naturally, as it was shaped by a selective vision, leading to the experience resembling a dramatization of the Lonely Planet.In retrospection, this book reminded me of another Booker nominee The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness, which was set in Romania just before the Revolution which ousted the Ceaucescus I have similar complaints for both novels the source material they were based on would be much better served as non fiction, as fictional stories set in real tumultuous periods often end up cheapening and simplifying them I would recommend this book only for Booker completists thriller fans will probably not end up being very thrilled, while readers who are interested in Russia such as yours truly won t find anything enlightening or even interesting. [Download Kindle] ⚖ Snowdrops ♍ AD Miller S Snowdrops Is A Riveting Psychological Drama That Unfolds Over The Course Of One Moscow Winter, As A Thirty Something Englishman S Moral Compass Is Spun By The Seductive Opportunities Revealed To Him By A New Russia A Land Of Hedonism And Desperation, Corruption And Kindness, Magical Dachas And Debauched Nightclubs A Place Where Secrets And Corpses Come To Light Only When The Deep Snows Start To ThawA Chilling Story Of Love And Moral Freefall Of The Corruption, By A Corrupt Society, Of A Corruptible Man It Is Taut, Intense And Has A Momentum As Irresistible To The Reader As The Moral Danger That First Enchants, Then Threatens To Overwhelm, Its Narrator Dear Mr MillerMay I congratulate you on your debut novel, which I have just read and thoroughly enjoyed It is, indeed, gripping and fairly addictive, precisely as the reviews promise The plotting is beautifully crafted, those hints of the disaster to come are dropped to devastating effect Thriller, yes, but a literary one too you have a wonderfully expressive lick of language that tickles and delights, and the pleasure that your writing affords is than the hedonistic joy of a rollicking ride to the chase There are also the deeper themes of morality and self deception and the mystery of erotic attraction.And although I ve never been East of Berlin myself, I m sure that your portrayal of the Wild East is absolutely authentic A colleague of yours at The Economist, Edward Lucas, writes on The Browser s feature Five Books I think the country is really run by what amounts to a gangster syndicate which is ruthless in its pursuit of wealth and power, and distorts the machinery of the state in order to achieve that and to perpetrate crimes against the Russian people So I think Russia is worse than the slightly sanitised picture we get in the media, not least because of libel laws that mean it s quite hard to write clearly and bluntly about some of the people involved. In that piece he recommends It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway Russia and the Communist Past, saying that its author David Satterfeels that the Soviet Union hollowed out both public and private morality and left people without a moral compass when it collapsed He highlights some of the extraordinary instances of casual, amoral treatment of people by the system and by other people in the book It s quite a pessimistic book He feels Russia has been poisoned by the Soviet past and until that poison is out of the system it is going to be sickened by it. I would imagine that this is a view that you entirely subscribe to, as the Snowdrop symbolism in your book might indicate However I m afraid that this letter is not mere gushing fan mail I am intrigued by a question that you may be able to help me with was it some kind of quibbling doubt about the authenticity of your tale that made you embed it in a framework, a framework that claims the whole book was written by Nick Platt as a confession to his fiancee before the Big Day I m utterly at a loss to comprehend why you would find it necessary to make such a pretence I see from your biography that you studied literature, I daresay you know of Barbara Herrnstein Smith s theory that the fictiveness of novels resides not in the mimesis of the world, but in the mimesis of speaking, of telling The essential fictiveness of novels is not to be discovered in the unreality of the characters, objects, and events alluded to, but in the unreality of the alludings themselves In other words, in a novel or tale, it is the act of reporting events, the act of describing persons and referring to places, that is fictive The novel represents the verbal action of a man reporting, describing and referring Now I would say that this is an accepted convention of novels, not since the very early days of Renaissance fiction have authors felt it necessary to authenticate their narrative by claiming that it is a manuscript that has been discovered and edited rather than invented That may well have been due to a leftover medieval distrust of inventio Surely nowadays, we appreciate a well imagined tale and can accept it as such My feeling was that in drawing attention to the motivation behind writing down this beautifully crafted story in fact, in the end, detracts from it Whereas I can believe completely and implicitly in the Moscow that you conjure up before my eyes so vividly, I cannot swallow the idea of a man making such an incriminating confession to the woman he hopes to marry Unless, of course, he actually wants to back out of the commitment Ah, is that what you mean Is Nick deliberately scuppering his chances Because I don t believe that his wedding will go ahead now not, I might add, because of doubts based on his moral degeneracy, but rather because he reveals his lack of passion for the future Mrs Platt.But then, the extra layer of intriguing puzzle is precisely what lifts this out of your ornery thriller category So maybe that was the effect you desired, to get the reader thinking Chapeau, monsieur Yours Karen First off, Miller did himself no favors by bestowing upon this book and it s a beautiful design, wintry fresh with that inveigling top photo blend of a miniscule, bundled up couple traipsing across a walled corner of a desolate and frigid Red Square that is slowly fading to gray the saccharinely absurd title of Snowdrops It s the rubric one would give to a tale of candied bunny rabbits and cavity filled teeth with perhaps a little meth tossed in to give it some scratch in a laminated child s romp through Santa s Workshop at the North Pole What Miller has actually constructed here, an expat s confession of sleaze, snow, deception, and reach arounds in the modern neon crush and bone chilling materiality of a Moscow where almost anything goes and what you can t protect is there for the taking, would have worked better with a handle that tasted bitter and aroused images of shadows slipping away, like curdled morals, from an arctic sun Snowdrops, all prancy and poncy, sets the reader back, tips him off balance, before the spine has even been creased so perhaps it s a minor miracle that it actually reached enough people who count to have been short listed for the Man Booker Prize.There seems to be a not inconsiderable number of people who, having read this book, expressed their surprise in tones of bewilderment, indignation, disbelief and or bemusement that it made it that far, that it is a sign of what the Man Booker has stooped to in this electronic era that such a meagre offering was even considered for the award in the first place There are also those who don t care for the large font size of the work and peoples, I hear you what with the simpleton aura it brings to the whole who find the epistolary conceit of the narrative, a confessionary letter from a rather loquacious groom to be to his one dimensional and ill formed fianc e, to be a gimmicky tack on that does little but offer a thin hook upon which to hang the weaselly bastard who deem the grifts that are at work within, unfolding in multiple directions upon multiple personages, to have been so obvious and telegraphed that, absent a suspension of disbelief that the author neither requests nor warrants, the entirety simply cannot stand as conceived and, the preeminent complaint in the reviews that I ve both read and glossed over that the narrator, Nick Platt, an expatriate English lawyer living in Moscow during the early to mid years of the first decade of our new millennium a time when Moscow was transitioning itself from being the living embodiment of Cowboy Capitalism to something dressed in finer clothes, carrying itself in a worldly manner, demanding for itself a higher level of respect, while remaining just as willing, almost eager, to cut your throat at the slightest sign of weakness is such a gutless, morally malleable, wishbone pricklet of a man that, unable to garner a shred of sympathy for himself from the reader, his presence leaves the entire affair with an unpleasant odor, a befouling feel, that lingers unsatisfactorily after this grim little workout has been put to rest.Is all of this a bit harsh I think so In one of the review blurbs on the back, the author is pumped up as being Graham Greene on steroids and while I don t hold him to be at the level of that great and prolific Catholic Englishman, Miller writes with a simplified elegance and a direct lyrical touch that, while occasionally threatening to descend to the rank of the merely serviceable, never actually does indeed, it proves to possess itself of a power all of its own, for I motored my way through Snowdrops in two settings and was absorbed the entire time It produced no starbursts, no flushes of joy, but I was never less than intrigued, and at all points entertained The story aside, the real star of Snowdrops is Miller s pitch perfect in the telling depiction of modern Russia its wild antics and chaotic violence in the clutch and grab days of the nineties anarchy after everything had fallen to pieces, and the upscale, outwardly charming, rakishly debonair, but equally ruthless state of affairs in the twenty first century as a country aware of its riches in natural resources and determined to drown in western capital if that s what is required The wealthy in Moscow revel in obscene prodigality, in hopping via ard SUV from one luxuriously decadent, music pulsing, and thoroughly energized nightclub to another, each one prized for its unique manner of posing nude young women, while the eminently corruptible police, politicians, and judiciary make it a place of endless possibilities for the rich, one of endless misery and withdrawn chariness for those the vast majority who are not Similar to Greene, Miller excels at painting the life of an expat in convincing colors, in getting to the heart of both what appalls and attracts in a country where so many things are similar, but never quite right where the allure of the barbaric cannot be separated from that of the forbidden and, in any case, proving almost impossible to resist, begins to abrade whatever served to separate the foreigner from the native if it was ever than illusion to begin with.The story itself is relatively simple Platt s a lawyer for a corporation that negotiates stipulatory contracts between European banks eager to lend money and the resource exploiting Russian corporations that are desperate to borrow Whilst in the midst of arranging a 500 million loan to a ruthlessly charismatic Cossack a man with criminal airs who heads up a consortium wishing to convert an old supertanker into a floating transfer port for an Arctic oil pipeline Nick also finds himself falling for the older of a pair of sisters whom he rescued from a purse snatcher in the Russian Metro Seeing in Masha a steely sensuality that is irresistibly attractive, Nick finds himself pursuing this tawny Slavic gazelle whose beautiful and charmingly na ve younger sister, Katya, accompanies her everywhere even while the two girls retain about them a beguiling distance, a sense of mystery After Masha s throaty growls and bedroom acrobatics have convinced the approaching middle aged professional that he has fallen in love, he is introduced to the girl s aunt, an elderly lady named Tatiana Vladimirovna, a plucky survivor of the Siege of Leningrad and Communist misrule who requires Nick s services to assist her in a move to a Moscow suburb However, with the brutal cold and crunching ice of the seemingly endless Russian winter serving as temporal marker, Nick s relationship with these lopsidedly smiling Russian kinswomen, and that of the twinkle eyed Cossack impatiently awaiting his money, come to reveal themselves in a troublingly sinister light The game, as they say, is afoot.I suppose it could have been done better the evolving attraction between Nick and Masha shown at work upon the page, rather than appearing formed in statements a better device than the abrasively cynical, stripper ogling reporter, long exiled to Moscow, crafted to deliver expositions upon the state of modern Russia but these complaints are fairly tepid, because Miller takes this material and it s shopworn, folks, been done, or less, in countless books previously pumped from the press and makes it work maximizes his limitations and reveals some pretty impressive strengths What s , the final two complaints I etched above that Nick s gullibility in select areas is unbelievable, and that his character is a grade A prick present themselves as no problem at all for such as myself I ve been a spineless worm, failing to do the right thing if an easy, relatively painless way out was made available I ve been blind to what was obvious in a desperate attempt to make something that was false, that had too many pieces that simply didn t fit, out to be something that just might if the eyes were squeezed shut tightly enough and the fingers kept crossed with a bruising fervor prove itself true in the end I ve suppressed suspicions, itchy doubts, that threatened to shatter an edifice I d painstakingly erected to let in some needed light I ve been nearing forty and alone in a crowded city and looking around, wild eyed, for a taste of those young days when the tank was always full and the air was wet with the promise of what might be In other words, hell yeah, I ve been Nick, stood in his shoes, made his bad choices That s why, at the end, I felt sympathy for the man than dislike and that s a testament to what Miller was able to access and bring to the page in this pleasantly surprising read. This is my first book about Russia post USSR meltdown A D Miller is a British expat, being The Economist magazine correspondent assigned to work for 3 years in Russia in the early 2000 s His storytelling is straightforward, his sentences are short but full of sense and this story is believable His use of Russia as a backdrop with its snow is just bewildering that reminded me of those white everywhere scenes in Boris Pasternak s Doctor Zhivago.I have read a good chunk of Booker winning and shortlisted works but this is my first time to encounter a suspense thriller novel similar to the works of John Le Carre guy lit with a heart without being melodramatic and John Le Burke for the use of the setting to heighten the mood of the novel The story revolves around Nick who is writing a letter to his new fiancee about his stay in Russia as company lawyer Russia is a corrupt country and their white snow seems to be in full contrast with the rotten government officials and shrewd businessmen The poor Russians are the ones who are suffering as they lose their property, resort to prostitution or commit crimes A snowdrop in Russia is either the flower indigenous to that country or the victim of crime whose dead body is buried in snow only to surface out when the snow thaws.I d like to write but I despite having finished only the first two paragraphs above, I had already gotten 12 votes so I guess my GR friends prefer reading short reviews so I better end this now.You see, I wrote a long 6 paragraph review this morning but when I clicked the Save button, GR said The review does not exist So, I had to reconstruct my review but it was already 8 00 a.m and I needed to start working. Ahhh, hvala Nebesima to sam joj ugledala kraj Ovo je takvo gubljenje vremena Ne znam kako sam do la na ideju da je itam, i prezirem sebe to ne mogu da odustanem kad sam ve po ela Ne preporu ujem je Predla em da je dodate na listu knjiga za izbegavanje. A British lawyer, Nicholas Platt, is working in Moscow in the hectic, free for all, Wild East days of the new Russia By day he helps negotiate huge bank loans to facilitate Russia s economic development These deals involve a number of shady characters and questionable assumptions, but Nick is caught up in the free wheeling, anything goes climate, and whatever moral scruples he might have brought with him from the UK are quickly eroding The same is true of his personal life as Nick gets caught up in exotic and often erotic lifestyle that flows from the rivers of cash that are flooding through the city One afternoon, Nick saves two attractive sisters from a purse snatcher and he is soon involved romantically with Masha, the older of the two The women are very mysterious even Masha reveals little of herself to Nick But he is too caught up in the intimacy which he believes to be love Then Masha and her sister, Katya, ask Nick to help their elderly aunt in the sale of her apartment and the purchase of a new one It quickly becomes apparent to Nick that this deal may not be completely legitimate, but by now he is completely bedazzled by Masha, and his moral compass has long since lost the ability to find True North He knows he is almost certainly heading for a fall, but like any true noir character, he s long past caring.This is an excellent debut novel that paints a gripping portrait of the new Russia and the seduction of man who is powerless to resist its allure It should appeal to those who like their novels dark and their characters flawed and in the grip of an attraction beyond their power to control.
Thank god the font was big and the lines were almost double spaced.This story is really about Moscow The people characters are just props the real characters are the city and the weather and the lawless society The characters are flat, stereotypical creatures, but I havent figured out if this is an intended character flaw of the narrator, or if it is the author s intention as an auteur to convey something deeper or so far hidden, or if it just simply represents workmanlike craft, and is what it is Thats what I wrote about this book after reading the first few pages I ve figured out now that there s nothing complicated here It s not even workmanlike craft, it s like the craft of an awkward apprentice It s as if the author, A.D Miller, who lived in Moscow himself for a few years as a correspondent for The Economist, wanted to think of a story, any kind of story, that he could drop into the set of Russia This is understandable, since he had lived there and likely wanted to share his experiences Russia the place is the main character the most developed and well described, compared with the people characters The narrative arc wearily stumbles through the Moscow cold, numbing the reader s interest, perked up only by energetic bursts of descriptions most often yet another way to describe how cold it was.The Moscow cold, the Moscow criminals, the Moscow daily life, the Moscow way of doing things These are clearly the real main interest of the author, but it seems he felt he needed to create a conventional story that would give him license to provide that backdrop The girls Masha and Katya are set props, dressing.Why did the narrator Nick, an ex pat lawyer, fall so hard for Masha There is nothing in the story, not a smidgin, to explain it, to make it plausible Did he fall for her because of her exquisite other world beauty She has hard red fingernails, dresses like a prostitute That s it Is it because of the incredibly hot sex and the fiery passion she ignites in him Don t know, there are just some vague tepid references to a bit of carnal activity, occasionally slightly exhibitionist There s certainly no hint of any intellectual vigour, not in Masha or any of the other characters for that matter, including the narrator There s no hint of any meeting of the souls kind of chemistry And without any of that, the story just isn t plausible The book is ostensibly the narrator relating to his fiancee the story of what happened to him in Moscow, but it is a clumsy artificial device It is employed half heartedly and sporadically, and so is all the intrusive and annoying when it does appear.The book is a decent start for a first novel, but I am absolutely stymied as to how it came even close for consideration to be on the Booker longlist, let alone the shortlist. I smelled it before I saw it.This is the opening line and, apart from his odd use of the word smelled instead of the usual smelt which grated on me a little, it is a great way to begin this novel which is all about not only the smell that rises off this newly uncovered and, at the beginning of the novel, unknown corpse but also the gradual rise of the stench of corruption not just from the government, officialdom and thugs of 21st Century Moscow but also the way our narrator Nick, an english lawyer, finds himself steeped in its filth and stink but unable, unwilling to detach himself from it.The story is told not exactly in flashback but as a sort of confession to his unnamed fiancee He is preparing to marry at some point and presumably, though it is never made clear, his conscience or what remains of it, has driven him to need to speak of what happened in the last eight months of his time in Moscow.Three storylines weave in and out of each other his professional lawyer ing including that carried out for a dubious Cossack Oil Magnate, his half hearted attempts to help his elderly neighbour who is worried about the disappearance of one of his old friends from the flat opposite and the third, the main story, Nick s love infatuation addiction for a young russian woman, Masha, and how she cajoles bribes seduces him into helping her move her elderly aunt from a prized property in central Moscow to a new build on the outskirts.This sounds perhaps drab and boring when set down cold on the page but it is a work of extraordinary power You feel the dirt and depravity begin to drag you down as you read Nick is a coward, a failure and, not to make too fine a point of it, a slimeball To be fair, he does not really try to justify himself His attempts to be honest to his fiancee and us his readers, his continual facing up to his failures and his recognition that deep down he knew for a long time what he was involving himself in, is a slightly redeeming feature Right from the start of his account, Masha and her sister appear in the first few pages, he always punctuates everything with a down at heel commentary like a whipped dog cowering in a corner in disgrace The story is one of betrayal, cruelty and unbelievable callousness, we know this almost from the start Like that Damoclean sword it hangs, you know it must fall but you don t know why or how or to whom that is part of the power of this book.As a reader you are inside his infatuation but Miller, brilliantly in my opinion, keeps you detached enough to look on in horror as you begin to realize what has been done So the story is a sobering one, the plot not intricate but gripping all the same The characters are not well drawn but that is the point, we see everything through the eyes, sometimes justifying, sometimes guilt ridden, of Nick.Miller has a great turn of phrase and there is real humour in some of his analogies but it is interesting, and presumably purposeful, that these humourous images are always bleak and even they disappear and move out of sight totally as the story goes deeper.Speaking of a Georgian taxi driver who had two religious icons in his cabmade me feel safer and vulnerable at the same time less likely to have my throat cut, but also that my life might be in the hands of someone who thought looking in the mirror or braking were God s worries rather than his.It was the kind of moscow weather that makes you want the sky to just get on with it, like a condemned prisoner looking up at the blade of the guillotine He hd one of those senses of humour that are really a kind of warfare laughing at his jokes made you feel guilty, not laughing at them makes you feel endangered the city authorities had pulled the flowers out of their beds, as they do every year when the game is up, carting them away in the night like condemned prisoners so they don t die in public The confused November sky reminded me of a black and white television set that hadn t been tuned in.Every now and again, Nick s adoration of Masha moves you to see his preparedness to behave as he did was almost unavoidable because of this adorationThe fine blond hairs on the knots of her spine glowed in the moonlight from the window, like a love letter written on her body in invisible ink.I can almost forgive him being a bastard when you see that almost innocent gaze but then Miller s underlying theme never really goes very far awaythe snow let you forget the scars and blemishes, like temporary amnesia for a bad conscience.There is one coincidence from my reading future I have just put Camus L Etranger to read again on my bedside and one incident i remember clearly from my reading of it before was Meursault s watching the old woman sitting and painstakingly mark off in pen the programmes she plans to watch on tv that coming week Nick, whilst visiting his parents back in England comes acrossthe television guide in which she d his mother put tragic asterisks next to the programmes she wanted to watch It struck me as interesting that Meursault, I seem to remember, had no response other than a noticing of the woman s meticulousness, Nick, in his own growing sense of being caught up in an exciting situation back in Russia, sees tragedy, loss and hopelessness in his mother s action Her sad predictability is the thing he will, at all costs, seek to escape It is this fear of mediocrity which drove him from London in the first place and pushes him on to do anything to keep his trophy girl.Towards the end we get a paragraph of some wisdomNick is in love with the idea and excitement and possibilities of Russian escape as much as he is with Masha When things fall what lessons are learnedIt isn t your lover that you learn about You learn about yourself.The snowdrop is the lovely flower heralding the end of winter or it is the decaying corpse coming into view as the disguising snow disappears and reveals what was hidden For the reader there are many corpses decaying, there is much lying hidden and Miller makes you think that horribly unthinkable thought If I was infatuated and swept up in love, how far would I let myself be swept Powerful, well worth the read.