An American novelist and short story writer, she is best known for Monkeys, which won the 1987 Prix Femina Etranger. She is also known for Lust and Other Stories and other works of short fiction.
She studied writing and painting at Brown University and subsequently received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.
She received both the O. Henry Prize and the Pushcart Prize.
She grew up in Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from Concord Academy.
She wrote the screenplay for the Bernardo Bertolucci film, Stealing Beauty.