Lara Vapnyar biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Lara Vapnyar
© Sigrid Estrada

Lara Vapnyar

How to pronounce Lara Vapnyar: Vap-nee-arh

Lara Vapnyar Biography

Lara Vapnyar came to the US from Russia in 1994. She is a recipient of the Guggenheim fellowship, and Goldberg Prize for Jewish fiction. She is the author of There Are Jews in My House, Memoirs of a Muse, Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love, The Scent of Pine, and Still Here. Her stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, Harper's, and Vogue.



This bio was last updated on 09/27/2019. In a perfect world, we would like to keep all of BookBrowse's biographies up to date, but with many thousands of lives to keep track of it's simply impossible to do. So, if the date of this bio is not recent, you may wish to do an internet search for a more current source, such as the author's website or social media presence. If you are the author or publisher and would like us to update this biography, send the complete text and we will replace the old with the new.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

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 women?


First of all, Tanya has a very idealistic view of a role of muse. She doesn't think that a muse is subservient to an artist, but...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Lara Vapnyar at BookBrowse
Divide Me By Zero jacket Still Here jacket Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love jacket Memoirs of a Muse jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

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

  • Alina Adams

    Alina Adams

    Alina Adams was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and immigrated with her parents to the U.S. in 1977 at age seven, where she learned English by watching American soap operas at their home in San Francisco.

    Alina is a fiction ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Divide Me By Zero

    Try:
    The Nesting Dolls
    by Alina Adams

  • Rachel Barenbaum

    Rachel Barenbaum

    Rachel is a prolific writer and reviewer and her work has appeared in the LA Review of Books, the Tel Aviv Review of Books and DeadDarlings. She is an Honorary Research Associate at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Divide Me By Zero

    Try:
    Atomic Anna
    by Rachel Barenbaum

We recommend 21 similar authors

View all 21 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Poet's House
    The Poet's House
    by Jean Thompson
    Seasoned author Jean Thompson's previous novels include A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl, The Humanity...
  • Book Jacket
    Some of It Was Real
    by Nan Fischer
    Nan Fischer is an Oregon Book Award finalist for her previous novels When Elephants Fly and The ...
  • Book Jacket: The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    by Shashi Bhat
    Think of all the worst parts of puberty — all the moments you partially miss or brood about ...
  • Book Jacket
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
All the Lonely People
by Mike Gayle
A cozy novel for fans of A Man Called Ove. A widowed retiree will rediscover the world he’s turned his back on.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Dirt Creek
    by Hayley Scrivenor

    "A heart-wrenching mystery, Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Creek to life. A stellar debut."
    —Jane Harper,

  • Book Jacket

    Widowland
    by C. J. Carey

    A thrilling feminist dystopian novel set in an alternate 1950s Britain under the control of the Third Reich.

Who Said...

I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wishes W H B W R

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.