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Memoirs of a Muse Paperback – April 10, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a test of reader's taste. If you are looking for an easy page-turner packed with Hollywood-style plots, you may be disappointed, but intellectual and demanding person will undoubtly enjoy it.
Tanya is an ordinary girl, an underachiever at school; she lacks the obvious conventional talents. Her initial disparateness, however, is tempered by a fierce imagination. As a girl, she's drawn to her grandmother's tales about her family's connection to the famous author Dostoevsky, and in her eyes he appears as a bright and sinister character, almost a fairy-tale villain.
Tanya eventually forms a crush on an older teacher and hopes he will seduce her on a school camping trip. She begins to fantasize that he is like the dead old writers whose works she studies in class, Gogol, Chekhov - and of course Dostoevsky, the "graying hair, prominent foreheads, the knowing eyes," and she begins to see herself as type a muse, "a companion to older artistic, literary men." She needs a Prince who would save her from being a "potato-peeling Cinderella" and turn her "into a Princess/bad girl."
Tanya's fantasies prove to be somewhat prophetic, for she is granted an escape from Russia in the shape of a white envelope from the US Immigration. Now transplanted to New York, her life is suddenly distorted, leaving her facing an enigmatic future. Her world is turned upside down, as this very adventurous Russian is set wandering through a city of strangers with only her eccentric family for help.Read more ›
Barely reading English and working as an assistant to a dentist, Tanya wanders into a NYC bookstore for a reading by the marginally successful novelist Mark Schneider. Tanya’s interest in Mark is too intense to be ignored; it is not long before she has moved in with him. Here she begins a diary, “Memoirs of a Muse.”
Almost needless to say, the surprises in her new calling as a muse are many. First, Tanya has never lived with a man, let alone an uncertain artist. She discovers that though Mark is a writer, he writes little. But he is particular; his daily routine is mapped out and Tanya is expected to fully support all of those specifics. She is very uncomfortable in the phony literary circle in which Mark feels he has to circulate. And, disappointingly, Mark is indifferent to her romantic needs. Tanya, increasingly, finds herself to be like the selfless, denigrated wife of Dostoevsky, instead of a muse.
The story unfolds over a year or so. The author well shows Tanya’s up and down emotions: hopeful one day and despairing the next. A turning point is when Tanya finally discovers that, as an artist, Mark is not a Dostoevsky.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
First person heroine wants to be a "muse" to a man who finds her a convenience, to be used sexually, and handy to have around the house, but is self-preoccupied and does... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Constance Goldstein
Enjoyed this book very much. Subtle, ironic, and much deeper than it may appear at first read. We get what we dream of ( become what we desire)but in the circumstances very... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Helen B.
This isn't that terrible of a book...I suppose. It was memorable to me, because I've never been so irate with a character before. Read morePublished on August 8, 2014 by Mister Bonely
Ms. Vapnyar uses the parallel current/historical narratives to good effect. Her style is fun to read and sheds light on the Russian emigre experience.Published on March 2, 2014 by Bowtielawyer
Anything by Lara Vapnyar is worth reading. Including this. I do like the Soviet scenes better than what she describes once in the US. The author probably feels the opposite!Published on January 2, 2014 by Daming Bai
(3.5 stars) Tanya lives in Russia with her mother, an academic. She has recently graduated with a degree in history, and has managed to get a visa to emigrate to the U.S. Read morePublished on August 17, 2013 by Michelle Boytim
"If I'm asked to name my proudest attainment, I will say:
I have slept with Hank Rearden. I had earned it. Read more
I loved the story. The narcissistic character was written well. The light nuances of self-absorption and entitlement balanced with an elevating grandiosity of both himself and... Read morePublished on September 11, 2009 by Non-Fiction Reader
Imagine deciding to become a muse to a famous author when you grow up! That is just what Tatiana (Tanya) Rumer does in this very readable, comic and original novel. Read morePublished on September 17, 2007 by Libra