Norma Klein was born May 13, 1938, in New York City and lived there until her death on April 25, 1989. Klein's father, Emanuel Klein, was a Freudian psychoanalyst; her mother, Sadie Frankel Klein, was an accomplished tennis player; and her one younger brother, Victor, became a social worker. The author described her parents as "non-religious Jews, politically left-wing, intellectual."
From age three to thirteen, Klein attended the Dalton School in New York and graduated from Elizabeth Irwin High School in 1956. She went to Cornell University for one year, then to Barnard College where she received her B.A. in Russian in 1960, achieving cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa distinctions. She earned her master's degree in Slavic languages from Columbia University in 1963. She stated that she studied Russian because of her love for the short stories of Anton Chekhov, adding that if she were on a deserted island and could have the works of only two authors, she would pick Anton Chekhov and Jane Austen.
Klein married Erwin Fleissner, a molecular biologist, on July 27, 1963. They had two daughters, Jennifer Luise (Jenny), born 1967, and Katherine Nicole (Katie), born 1970. After her marriage, Klein changed her plans to study for a Ph.D. and decided to write.
Klein's prolific writing career, which began at age nineteen when one of her short stories was first published, spanned more than two decades. She wrote fiction, verse, and short...
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