An American author of fiction and essays, she is particularly known for her 2005 novel, Veronica, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. One of her short stories also served as the inspiration for the 2002 film, Secretary, which stars actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.
She became a born-again Christian when she was twenty-one years old; however, she later changed her mind about the conversion.
She received both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a PEN/Faulkner Award nomination.
She married writer Peter Trachtenberg in 2001; they separated nine years later.
She was inspired by the work of Vladimir Nabokov.