By A. Manette Ansay
(William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780688172862, 288pp.)
Publication Date: October 2001
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From childhood, acclaimed novelist A. Manette Ansay trained to become a concert pianist. But at nineteen, a mysterious muscle disorder forced her to give up the piano, and by twenty-one, she couldn't grip a pen or walk across a room. She entered a world of limbo, one in which no one could explain what was happening to her or predict what the future would hold. At twenty-three, beginning a whole new life in a motorized wheelchair, Ansay made a New Year's resolution to start writing fiction, rediscovering the sense of passion and purpose she thought she had lost for good. "Writing fiction began for me as a side effect of illness, a way to live beyond my body when it became clear that this new, altered body would be mine to keep. A way to fill the hours that had once been occupied by music. A way to achieve the kind of closure that, once, I'd found in prayer.
Limbo takes its title from the Catholic belief in a place between heaven and hell that is neither, one that Ansay imagines as "a gray room without walls, a gray floor, a gray bench . . . .You wouldn't know how long you'd been in that room, or how much longer you had to go." Thirteen years and five books later, still without a firm diagnosis or prognosis, Ansay reflects on the ways in which the unraveling of one life can plant the seeds of another, and considers how her own physical limbo has challenged -- in ways not necessarily bad -- her most fundamental assumptions about life and faith.
Luminously written, Limbo is a brilliant and moving testimony to the resilience of the human spirit.