An American writer and professor, she is known for such novels as The Company of Women and The Other Side. She also published several non-fiction works, including The Shadow Man: A Daughter's Search for Her Father and Circling My Mother: A Memoir.
She studied at Barnard College and Syracuse University.
She was one of ninety-seven theologians who signed A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion.
She married Arthur Cash; they later became parents to two children.
She and Dorothy Day were both Roman Catholics.