After an early career amongst the political elite of Cold War Russia, Alexander Ivanov has lived in America for forty years and has managed to bury the tragic memories surrounding his charismatic late wife, Katya – or so he believes.
For into his life come two women – one who will start to open up the heart he has protected for so long; another who is determined to uncover the truth about what really happened to Katya all those years ago. The novel’s journey back to the snowbound streets of post-Stalinist Moscow reveals a precarious, dangerous world of secrets and treachery.
Now a major motion picture from award-winning director Shamim Sarif
Despite the Falling Snow by Shamim Sarif, one of our most outstanding young novelists, is my novel of the year: its delicate artistry and immense compass reaches back to the labyrinthine heart of Soviet Russia
Stevie Davies, The Independent
A perfectly balanced novel of love and tragedy…brutally shocking. The beauty of the streets of Moscow, the bejewelled architecture of the metro stations, is all a majestic backdrop to a play of mistrust and deception, where friends, even the best of friends, can turn against each other in fear.
Despite the Falling Snow contains all the ingredients of a good thriller: intrigue, suspense, and romance…Sarif gives each character her due; she does not lead us to belittle Estelle's ordinariness or to idealize Katya's courage. Both women are portrayed in their fullness: Estelle's humor, warmth, and desire for connection; Katya's lies, doubts, and evasions.
The Boston Globe
Shamim Sarif’s intense and elegant first novel drew on her South African roots. This one shows that her cultural compass can stretch even wider without dulling the delicacy of her gaze….Highly readable.
Sarif’s thrilling new novel makes me think of the ‘The English Patient’ and ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’. Like those books, it has at its core an unforgettable love story. Yet Sarif also understands the human cost exacted by totalitarian systems. And she knows that the worst betrayals are those committed by the ones we love. Her novel is immensely powerful – and deeply moving.
Steve Yarbrough, author of The Oxygen Man
This story is, quite literally, breathtaking.
The Good Book Guide
Explores love and tragic loss with the pace of a thriller and a style that is gentle and flowing, a hypnotic combination that eases between the US and 1950s Moscow. . . . A pure delight, highly recommended.
An intriguing story of love, betrayal, anguish and despair . . . Shamim Sarif brings her characters to life with a delicacy of touch evocative of the intensity of their passions. An enthralling read.