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Paperback Limbo: A Memoir Book

ISBN: 0380732874

ISBN13: 9780380732876

Limbo: A Memoir

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Book Overview

From childhood, acclaimed novelist A. Manette Ansay trained to become a concert pianist. But when she was 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...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Stands apart from the books which try to find meaning in difficulty

There are those who easily turn to their religion to find comfort in the midst of nearly any difficulty. Then there are those who REFUSE to do so and who are able to find their way through the pain anyway. Ansay falls into the latter group (and I want to be clear here,...I'm not saying one viewpoint is better than the other, only pointing out the facts). She is quite honest about her unwillingness (or inability) to make that choice for herself. She is faced with a mysterious illness and no guarantee of recovery. She may be in a wheelchair all her life. She is young. THe result? A book about how she comes to grips with all of this WITHOUT insisting on finding "meaning" or a sense that she was destined for this or that there is some deeper significance or spiritual pattern in her illness. If you know someone in a similar circumstance, someone for whom religion is not an easy comfort and who wonders how others have coped, this would be a perfect choice. It is also worth reading by just about anyone who wonders "What if?" or "How would I handle this?". Honest, detailed and unflinching.

lyrical and dispassionate

Since writing my own memoir, BABY CATCHER: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife (Scribner 2002), I have been studying the style of other memorists. I found Ansay's prose lyrical, mesmerizing, and almost poetic throughout this beautiful book. To be able to write about her losses as a result of a still-mysterious illness similar to MS, with calmness and lack of hyperbole, is admirable and enviable. From the very beginning you know this story doesn't have a happy outcome, but at no time did I feel depressed. On some level, I rejoiced for this author, for her own successes and insight and hope and the joy in small gains, small triumphs over her difficulties. Limbo is a love story, an admirable one. I wish this author lived next door to me. I would sit at her feet in awe and bake her cookies and bread at every opportunity. May she continue to write and write and write.

Breath-taking!

Like another reviewer before me, I have been a huge fan of Manette Ansay's fiction for years. I was first sucked in with her amazing and honest novel "Sister" (it brought me to tears several times, including on a Peter Pan bus from Boston to Springfield--thankfully I was travelling alone), and then I proceeded to read everything she published before and since. When I read that she had published a memoir about becoming a writer, I was incredibly excited and waited in anticipation to read it. Ansay does not disappoint. In fact, this incredible, emotional, poignant (oh, I could pour on the adjectives--there are so many wonderful facets to this book--but how hard it is to find the right words to describe EXACTLY how I felt reading it) reaffirmed my love of this author's work. The book is intensely personal, which is how her fiction feels when you read it--one of the reasons why I have enjoyed her novels so much. She has a gift for capturing the details of a memory that can transport you to a time and place in her life so that you feel you were there with her, knew the people she knew. And what an incredible life journey she has had, continues to have. Manette Ansay articulates to perfection the passing thoughts and feelings and events that happen in life. Her voice is genuine and sincere. This is one of those books that just grabs you and does not let go. Part of me wanted to read more slowly and savor the writing, while the other part just could not stop racing along, so intent was I on finding out "what happened next", how she felt, what she thought. Yes, this is a work of non-fiction, but it is REAL in many ways, not just factually. It resonates in the heart, in the mind, long after you close the book.The book jacket promises that Manette Ansay is working on another novel--and I can barely wait.

The Evolution of a Writer . . .

I hated Vinegar Hill. I thought the best thing about that book was the title, which precisely depicted the content.Ansay's Midnight Champagne, however, was completely different. Rather than bitterness and strife, it was a meandering short story full of insight, surprises, and delicious writing. It's a "keeper."Limbo, too, is one of those books that makes you think twice before you loan it to a friend. Because the book is so good, you worry you might never get it back. Ansay's life is inspiring. Her writing is flawless. And her transitional journey from a concert pianist to a critically acclaimed writer is enlightening. To paraphrase her very words -- Ansay takes us to another country -- and helps us understand its language and its customs. I couldn't put this book down, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in writing, music, or learning more about this talented and gifted writer.

Ansay's memoir is as Beautifully Written as Her Novels!

A. Manette Ansay has been a favorite of mine since her first published novel "Vinegar Hill"; she's one of those authors that you buy in hardcover because you can't wait for the paperback. Her most recent novel "Midnight Champagne" was so good that it begs to be savored over and over again.So when I saw that she had written her memoir I was anxious to read about this young writer that I so admire. Now that I have read it I have even MORE for which to admire her. The descriptions of her phisical dibilitation are heart breaking...but at the same time her spirit is uplifting; her talent is daunting. I especially appreciate her description of losing her Catholic faith. I went through the same gamut of emotions - panic and peace - when I lost mine. Everything she writes strikes true. I will be the first in line for her next work.
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