Lara Vapnyar biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Lara Vapnyar.

Author Biography  |  Interview  |  Books by this Author  |  Readalikes

Lara Vapnyar
© Sigrid Estrada

Lara Vapnyar

Lara Vapnyar Biography

Lara Vapnyar emigrated from Russia to New York in 1994 and began publishing short stories in English in 2002. She lives on Staten Island and is pursuing a Ph.D. in comparative literature at CUNY Graduate Center.

This biography was last updated on 01/05/2011.

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Interview

Lara Vapnyar discusses her first novel, Memoirs of a Muse, about a Russian immigrant determined to become the muse of a famous artist.

The protagonist of Memoirs of a Muse is a young Russian immigrant named Tanya.  Raised by her single mother, a professor, Tanya escapes the drudgery of post-Cold War Moscow life by reading about Apollinaria Suslova, Dostoevsky's mistress and muse.  Tanya romanticizes that she too one day will become a muse like Suslova. After graduating from college, she immigrates to New York, but unlike her relatives before her, who try in more conventional ways to assimilate to American culture, she holds on to her ambition to be "special," to become the muse to a great American writer.

American readers might be unfamiliar with an ambition like Tanya's, especially since the novel is set in present-day New York City where most women define success quite differently, and may initially misunderstand Tanya's idea of a muse as being intentionally subservient to the man or artist. How does Tanya define the role of muse? Would Tanya have wanted the same thing for herself in Russia? Does Tanya represent something larger about young immigrant ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Lara Vapnyar at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

Memoirs of a Muse
Memoirs of a Muse

by Lara Vapnyar

A young Russian girl moves to New York, where she becomes mistress and muse to a novelist.
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Lara Vapnyar but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Ann Beattie

    Ann Beattie

    Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections and in John Updike's The Best American Short Stories of the Century. In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story form. ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    There Are Jews In My House

    Try:
    Perfect Recall
    by Ann Beattie

  • Tom Bissell

    Tom Bissell

    Tom Bissell is the author of Chasing the Sea, God Lives in St. Petersburg, The Father of All Things and Why Video Games Matter. A recipient of the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Bay de Noc Community College ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    There Are Jews In My House

    Try:
    God Lives In St. Petersburg
    by Tom Bissell

We recommend 14 similar authors

View all 14 Readalikes

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