Author Joan Chase, "whose first book was published when she was 46 and attracted awards and accolades," died April 17, the New York Times reported. She was 81. Chase's debut novel, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia (1983), "inspired a chorus of positive reviews, earned a spot on the New York Times Book Review's list of the top books of the year and won the Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award."
Writing in the NYTBR, Margaret Atwood described the novel as "a Norman Rockwell painting gone bad, the underside of the idyllic hometown, main-street, down-on-the-farm dream of Middle America," as well as "an important debut by a fine new writer." Chase's second novel, The Evening Wolves (1989), also centered on a family.
"Whether these novels held the seed of autobiography is hard to say, because Ms. Chase shunned the spotlight, avoiding interviews," the Times wrote. "The lack of a biographical filter, however, may make reading her work a purer experience," as Amy Weldon had suggested in The Millions in 2014, when During the Reign of the Queen of Persia was reissued by New York Review Books.
Chase also wrote a collection of short stories, Bonneville Blue (1991).