This was my first introduction to Lara Vapnyar and I must admit that I enjoyed the ride. Her writing is very descriptive and I really could relate to the main character/narrator Tanya Fumer.
I enjoyed getting to know Tanya in Russia as a teenager when she reads Dostoevsky and fantasizes about being a muse like Polina. Then she leaves her native land and immigrates to New York City where she meets Mark, a writer, and thinks that her calling as a muse has finally come true. However, when Tanya accidentally stumbles upon an annotated copy of a biography about Dostoevsky, filled with Mark's notes, she realizes she's not Polina after all but Anna Grigorovich. When reality strikes Tanya realizes she really doesn't love Mark after all and feels saddened by this. However, it is when she strikes out on her own, teaches herself English, becomes an historian and finds a man very different than Mark, who loves her for who she really is, is when she finally comes full circle and begins to love herself.
I am looking forward to reading Lara Vapnyar's short stories in the near future.