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From childhood, acclaimed novelist A. Manette Ansay trained to become a concert pianist. But at 19, a mysterious muscle disorder forced her to give up the piano, and by 21, 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 23, beginning a whole new life in a motorized wheelchair, Ansay made a New Year’s resolution to start writing fiction, re-discovering 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 which 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. Read more about A. Manette Ansay’s health today.

Praise for Limbo

“Ansay’s novel Vinegar Hill was an Oprah-annointed bestseller; that and a generous marketing campaign will give this memoir well-deserved prominence.”

— PW Forecast (Starred Review)

“Riveting…In recasting her life whole, with all of its ‘blurred edges,’ unsettling ambiguities, and glimmers of transcendence, she tells a story that generatesits own subversive and powerful truth.”

— New York Times Book Review

“Lyrical…a brilliant, life-affirming memoir…filled with wit, wisdom and hope.”

— Washington Post Book World

“Ansay renders her losses with stunning immediacy.”

— Chicago Tribune

“A searching, graceful memoir…powerful.”

— Detroit Free Press


  1. I want to thank you for writing this book, and sharing your personal experiences with your readers. While there is no just comparison between chronic illnesses and disabilities, I am a woman in my 20s living with chronic pain and illness wondering the same things you expressed in your book: what do i do with my life now? how long will this continue? will there ever be an end?

    I indentified with so many things you expressed in this book, and I can’t thank you enough for sharing things that don’t pass through many people’s minds. Thank you for showing there is a life beyond the life we may have early on imagined for ourselves. Best of luck to you in the future!

  2. Hi A. Manette Ansay – I was going through some articles I had in a file in my office and came across the Redbook piece on you. In your book Limbo do you cover any of the treatments that you have tried?

    Although I am much better now, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue syndrome and just went through a terrible bout of depression and have been looking for alternative health options.

    I hope that you have continued to thrive and have had much success.

    Warm regards,

    Fort Myers Florida

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