Published by Ladno Books on May 14th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance
"In this well-written debut novel... Miller engagingly presents a heroine caught between contradictions: New York and Moscow; flashy glamour and self-pitying nostalgia; certainty and doubt. A sexy tale with plenty of Russian atmosphere.."
-- Kirkus Reviews
"A thrilling ride that zigzags right to your heart." -- Lara Vapnyar, Author of The Scent of Pine
Inga's Zigzags is the story of a 28-year-old Russian woman who, after a decade in New York, returns to post-perestroika Moscow to start her own business. When her prospects fall through and she finds herself far from the heart of the action, she meets Emma and Alexandra, a pair of wealthy and well-connected magazine publishers, who lure Inga into their bed and then propose to launch a company together. When the threesome starts to fall apart, Inga is forced to make some difficult choices to find her way through the labyrinth of Moscow's intrigues and heartbreaks, to reclaim her destiny. The book is about evolving, finding one's place in life, about a yearning to belong and feel accepted. Inga Belova is a New Yorker who has an MBA but feels misplaced. She is a double single - as in, divorced with no boyfriend - but then she finds double love. Yet she continues to feel in between - countries, jobs, lovers. She questions her sexuality, national identity, career and loyalty. Will she ever settle? Whom does she love? What is her life's calling? To find the answers, we follow her from New York to Moscow to St. Petersburg to Miami to London and then to Moscow again. "Tradition demands that heroines in Russian literature fare poorly. Tolstoy's Karenina jumps in front of a train; Karamzin's Poor Liza drowns herself in a pond, Pasternak's Lara dies in the Gulag. In Inga's Zigzags, Vica Miller's saucy first novel, that tradition may have met its match. Meet Inga Belova, love child of Perestroika, Glasnost, and the global economy, whose vocational ambitions are exceeded only by her appetite for sex. Inga doesn't throw herself in front of trains; she is the train." - Peter Selgin, author of Drowning Lessons, winner of the 2007 Flannery O'Connor Award for Fiction
Some books are able to take you to a place, show you around, and make you feel like you are right there experiencing it with the characters. The authors descriptive details show you the scene and then you are right there with the characters going through the dialog. Inga’s Zigzags took me all over New York, Moscow, St.Petersburg (the Russian variety), London, and Miami’s South Beach. I am so happy I was able to get to read this book. I needed a vacation. This book is a gem.
Inga is a woman coming into her own. She is not a flawless heroine or a damsel in distress. Inga is learning the hard way how to get through this life. She is a foreigner in almost every place she goes. She is recently divorced and returns to her native Russia after 10 Years in New York. She is not the same, and her native land has certainly changed. She gets involved with a lesbian couple and then, well…. I don’t want to spoil it for you. Inga makes some mistakes and makes some choices while guided by her heart. The journey that Inga takes is one of self discovery and sexual awakening. This is not erotica in its truest form, but you can bet there are some racy scenes.
Admittedly, this book may not appeal to everyone. It appealed to me. I loved this whole book until I got to the last chapter. I hated the last chapter. I can see that the book needed closure but the last chapter jumped ahead so far I feel like this last bit of adventure would have been worth reading, as well. Especially since it is when Inga finally found her contentment with what she had. This lack of details killed me. By the second page of the last chapter I wasn’t hating it anymore, I just felt a bit robbed of the story.
The author does a great job of writing exactly the same way throughout the book. Descriptive when it needs to be, showing feeling, and then some dialog. The book skips ahead at times and I felt like the author zoomed in to the parts when it really mattered. The whole story is written in first person, almost like a memoir. It is nice to be inside someone’s head for a while. I enjoyed the way Inga thought and the play on languages.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
VICA MILLER is a native of St. Petersburg (Russia) and a New Yorker for over two decades. George Plimpton called her a writer, and she believed him. She is the founder of the Vica Miller Literary Salons, a chamber reading series held in New York City’s private art galleries. When not writing fiction, Vica runs communications for a global technology company, and is proud to have taught New Media and Public Relations at Hunter College (CUNY).
Vica holds a Master’s degree from ITP – Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is an excellent swimmer, a beginner paraglider and has synesthesia, as Nabokov did. Vica lives on the Upper West Side with her husband and two daughters, where she is at work on her second novel, The Shadow of a Blue Doll.