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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Memoirs of a Muse|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Memoirs of a Muse|
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Memoirs of a Muse
ChaptNr OnM AParisian hotel room. A man sits at a round table across from a woman. There is a tea tray between them: two glasses in silver holders, with a transparent liquid changing from muddy brown to dark red depending on the light. A saucer with pale lemon wedges, a crystal sugar bowl, a plate of French pastry, two silver spoons lost on the shiny surface of the tray.
The woman is young, with a broad, well-defined face framed with heavy waves of auburn hair. Her lips are squeezed tight. Her small eyes are intense, alert. She is watching the man. The man is in his forties, short, heavy, with a scant beard and a lumpy bald patch, visible to the woman because his head is hung low. He has sinewy hands and the prominent forehead of a great Russian writer.
He is, in fact, a great Russian writer. He is Fedor Dostoevsky. And the woman is Apollinaria Suslova, his lover. Or his former lover, because she has just informed him that she has fallen in love with somebody else.
He is kneading his face with his hands. His large thumbs are stretching the skin on his cheeks, his index fingers are pressing into his temples. Beads of sweat form between the rare hairs on his crown and crawl down, lingering in every wrinkle on his forehead. Some of them dissolve in his skin, others make it as far as his brows, only to be crushed by his fast, cruel fingers. Two blue veins throb on his forehead. He is suffering. She can’t take her eyes away.
“Polya,” he suddenly whispers. He raises his wet, shaking face to meet her eyes. “Have you given yourself to him? Have you given yourself completely?”
His voice is th