Memoirs of a Muse
By Lara Vapnyar
Vintage Books USA, Paperback, 9781400077007, 212pp.
Publication Date: April 10, 2007
List Price: $13.95*
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Tanya is a typical teenager living with her bookish professor mother in a cramped Soviet apartment. She is obsessed with Dostoyevksy, and noticing that he always portrays his mistress and muse in his novels–never his wife–she determines to become a companion to a great writer. Her opportunity comes when, as a college graduate newly emigrated to America, she attends a Manhattan bookstore reading by Mark Schneider, a Significant New York Novelist. Tanya quickly moves in with Mark, ready to dazzle in bed, to serve and inspire . . . if only he would spend a little more time writing. But as she struggles to better understand her role as Muse, Tanya also learns more than she expected about the destiny she has imagined for herself.
A touching and very funny novel in the great tradition of Russian realism, Memoirs of a Muse is also a lively meditation on the mysteries and absurdities of artistic inspiration.
“A smart, fetching comic novel that has its heart in the Russian masters and its attitude in modern New York. . . . Full of generous intelligence.”—The Boston Globe“So good, so consistently fresh, funny and surprising, that every sentence is a pleasure” —San Francisco Chronicle"[C]ringingly funny. . . . A captivating literary fairy tale gone awry." —The Miami Herald“Beautifully observant and funny. . . . It's already easy to identify that Vapnyar touch, and to fall under its spell.”—Entertainment Weekly