Pierce, Anne Whitney 1953-
PIERCE, Anne Whitney 1953-
PERSONAL: Born 1953.
ADDRESSES: Home—Cambridge, MA. Offıce—Emerson College, 120 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116-4624.
CAREER: Author. Adjunct faculty member at Emerson College, Boston, MA.
AWARDS, HONORS: Willa Cather Fiction Prize, Helicon Nine Editions, for Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women, 2000; Paterson Fiction Prize, the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College, for Rain Line, 2001.
Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women, Helicon Nine Editions (Kansas City, MO), 1994.
Rain Line: A Novel, University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: A collection of short stories and her first novel have earned warm reviews and awards for author Anne Whitney Pierce, an adjunct faculty member at Emerson College in Boston. In Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women and Rain Line: A Novel, she has displayed a deft hand at creating likable, human characters, a patient approach in detailing their responses to personal crises, and a graceful prose style.
The collection Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women consists of ten short stories about women facing important transitions in their lives. New Yorker Roxanne decides to move her beauty salon business to a town in Maine, Karen is coming to terms with the fact that her children are growing up and will leave her alone to face a broken marriage, and Paula finds herself choosing a photo shoot in the town where her sister was drowned long ago. Writing for Studies in Short Fiction, Marty Ennes-Marvin found that the author "has a gift for description, uses lilting language, and creates characters readers want to know." Ennes-Marvin also felt that the tales were burdened by an excess of explaining and information, and remarked, "Pierce's readers want to believe her and her characters, but she tells us too much. She tries to prove their worth—and hers with too many details." A Publishers Weekly writer considered the writing to be exceptional, calling it "sensitive, insightful and compelling" as well as "evocative storytelling, vividly and beautifully presented." In the New York Times Book Review, Elizabeth Ferber credited Pierce with having "a keen ear for unpretentious voices" and being the author of "richly populated yarns of divorce, abandonment, birth and love."
Rain Line is the story of a young woman whose life is turned upside down after she survives a car crash that kills her boyfriend. Leonarda Baye's music studies at the Boston Conservatory are thereby cut short, as she returns home to convalesce with her dysfunctional parents. "Leo"'s mother is a former opera singer who has gone into hiding, and her father is an inventor who never finishes anything while supporting his wife's hermetic tendencies. All three are jolted by the discovery that Leo is pregnant by her deceased boyfriend, and all subsequently find new interests that bring them back to life.
The novel's characters and story development were repeatedly praised by critics. In Library Journal, Harold Augenbraum called the novel "an outstanding work of domestic fiction" and advised readers to "get past the purposely dull first fifteen pages." Booklist reviewer Carolyn Kubisz said that Pierce "writes lyrically and honestly in this powerful tale of life after tragedy" and commended her patience in detailing the characters and story. A Publishers Weekly writer noted that the novel is "redeemed from sentimentality by Pierce's sure, resonant prose." The reviewer called the writing "lucid, crisply wrought" and said the story had "poetic immediacy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 1, 2000, Carolyn Kubisz, review of Rain Line: A Novel, p. 1008.
Library Journal, February 15, 2000, Harold Augenbraum, review of Rain Line, p. 198.
New York Times Book Review, December 18, 1994, Elizabeth Ferber, review of Galaxy Girls: Wonder Women, p. 22.
Publishers Weekly, August 15, 1994, review of GalaxyGirls, p. 91; January 17, 2000, review of Rain Line, p. 41.
Studies in Short Fiction, summer, 1996, Marty Ennes-Marvin, review of Galaxy Girls, pp. 438-440.*