Here the Russian expatriate author of the prizewinning story collection There Are Jews in My House offers this poignant and comic first novel about a would-be modern-day muse. Growing up under the influence of her bookish mother, a university professor, in a drab Soviet apartment, Tanya one day discovers Dostoyevsky and settles on her life's calling: she will become the companion and muse to a great writer.
"Only after she joins her émigré aunt and uncle in New York, almost halfway through the book, do we learn that the novel's catchy title is ironic. 'Memoirs of a Muse' is the name Tanya gives to her diary about her days as an inspiration—others might say kept woman—of an American writer, Mark Schneider. The section about their affair becomes more satiric, with its sly portrait of a pretentious, not-quite successful writer in middle age and his navel-gazing Manhattan literary world."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)