Moscow Dogs, by Sweeney O’Toole


Moscow Dogs is a first person narrative that, through flashbacks, deals with a 12 month period in Moscow at the end of the 20th century. The story begins with Leo, a 30 year old British ex-patriot, counting money at Svetlana’s house as the first snow begins to fall. This triggers memories of his first Moscow winter and we are introduced to Nadia the awkward bookish linguist, and the contrasting Olga, a beautiful new-money fashionista. As the story unfolds, we begin to uncover motives for Leo being in the city, which explain his state of mind, culminating with a revelation which is both devastating and shocking. The book is essentially an immersive meditation on the human condition with an equal dose of bitterness and extravagance which takes the protagonist to the point of delirium. Ultimately, we are left captivated by the strangeness of the story and the forces which have driven Leo to his fate.