Death and the Penguin (Melville International Crime) by Andrey Kurkov (translated by George Bird):
He had dreamt once of writing novels, but had not achieved so much as a novella, in spite of all the unfinished manuscripts lying around in folders. But unfinished they were fated to remain, he having been unlucky with his muses, they, for some reason, having never tarried long enough in his two-room flat to see him through a short story. Hence his literary failure. They had been amazingly fickle, his muses. Or he had been at fault for picking such unreliable ones. But now, alone with his penguin, here he was, churning out little pieces regardless, and getting well paid.
Warm at last, he left the café. It was still drizzling. Still a grey, wet day.
Before returning to his flat, he dropped into a shop and bought a kilo of frozen salmon–for Misha.