(Nora Elena Pierce)
Married; children: one. Ethnicity: Native American, Lebanese. Education: Attended Stanford University.
Home—CA. Office—Department of English, Stanford University, Bldg. 460, Margaret Jacks Hall, Stanford, CA 94305. Agent—J. Adams, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, Inc., 307 7th Ave., Ste. 2407, New York, NY 10001. E-mail—[email protected]
Writer. Stanford University, Stanford, CA, lecturer in creative writing; previously worked as a bartender.
Wallace Stegner fellowship, Stanford University; PEN Emerging Voices fellowship.
The Insufficiency of Maps: A Novel, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Nora Pierce studied creative writing at Stanford University, where she was the recipient of a prestigious Wallace Stegner fellowship. She went on to lecture within the program. Her first published book, The Insufficiency of Maps: A Novel, was published in 2007 to critical praise. A coming-of-age story, the novel follows the protagonist, a young girl called Alice, as she gradually progresses from what appears to be a normal, everyday type of life, to something that is actually quite off the beaten path. The daughter of an alcoholic schizophrenic mother, Alice finds herself in foster care and eventually runs away. Alice's love for her mother warps her perceptions of her parent's mental illness and colors the way she reacts to her frequently erratic behavior. Like Pierce, Alice is half Native American, and that sense of culture and displacement is very much apparent in Alice's experiences as well. Lindsay Maples, in a review for the Aniston Star Online, commented: "An innocence and subtlety pervade Pierce's storytelling, with sensory details that evoke award-winning novelist Michael Ondaatje's descriptions of childhood in the Sri Lankan jungle in his memoir. Every character Alice comes into contact with is real; the reader can see, smell, touch the world around her." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly dubbed the book a "forceful debut." Susan Rife, reviewing in the Herald Tribune Online, found the book to be difficult going, but ultimately concluded that it was "filled with graceful images and a heart-rending story."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, March 1, 2007, Debbie Bogenschutz, review of The Insufficiency of Maps: A Novel, p. 77.
Publishers Weekly, February 12, 2007, review of The Insufficiency of Maps, p. 64.
Aniston Star Online (Aniston, AL), http://www.dailyhome.com/ (May 20, 2007), Lindsay Maples, "Vivid Imagery More Than Sufficient."
Herald Tribune Online (Sarasota, FL), http://www.heraldtribune.com/ (April 26, 2007), Susan Rife, "Mapping an Inner World."
Nora Pierce Home Page,http://www.norapierce.com (October 9, 2007).
Small Spiral Notebook,http://www.smallspiralnotebook.com/ (October 9, 2007), Adam Goldwyn, review of The Insufficiency of Maps.