A.D. Miller on his “moral thriller” Snowdrops

A.D Miller was born in London in 1974. He studied literature at Cambridge and Princeton before beginning his journalism career – writing travel pieces about America. He then wrote for The Economist before becoming their correspondent in Moscow in 2004 where he came up with his idea for Snowdrops.

Moscow transformed Miller as he made lifelong friends and had unforgettable experiences. For Miller, with his comfortable background, travelling across Russia was a challenging experience.

Short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2001, Snowdrops is a fantastically chilling piece of fiction. The English lawyer narrator speaks his confession throughout the book, and our job is to question the amount of guilt in his confession. The narrator has been morally seduced, and as a result become morally dead after he realises he is not as wise as he thought. Miller demonstrates how blind people can be to the consequences of their actions through weaving passive aggression and dramatic irony throughout the meta-narrative.

As a journalist, Miller witnessed the lifestyles and consequences of modern life in Russia. He does not believe corruption has been reduced, but recognises that living standards have increased. The country is run merely on power rather than law, leaving a huge number of victims.

Miller’s transition from journalism to novel writing was a difficult one, however he explains how all writing considers a point of view, decision making, structure and elaboration. Miller believes he has been very lucky with the novel’s success, but has no plans to write another about Moscow. Many have described the novel as a thriller, but this was not Miller’s intention. He sees it, however, as a moral thriller as opposed to a classical thriller.

Upon finishing the Snowdrops, readers are left to ask themselves if the narrator’s morals were justified, and how much of a journey he has been on. The book also questions who the real criminals are: those who carry a knife, or society itself?


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August 2022
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