Known for such acclaimed short story collections as Varieties of Disturbance and Break It Down, she was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award and for the 1986 PEN/Hemingway Award.
She graduated from Barnard College and later taught at both New York University and the State University of New York at Albany.
A poet as well as a fiction writer, she published work in both The Best American Poetry and The Best American Short Stories anthologies.
The daughter of English teachers, she married novelist
She prepared a 2010 English translation of Gustave Flaubert's classic French novel, Madame Bovary.