NEW YORK — Paula Fox, a prize-winning author who created high art out of imagined chaos in such novels as “Poor George” and “Desperate Characters” and out of the real-life upheavals in her memoir “Borrowed Finery,” has died at age 93.

Her daughter, Linda Carroll, said Fox died Wednesday at Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. She had been in failing health.

Abandoned as a girl by her parents, a single mother before age 20, Fox used the most finely crafted prose to write again and again about breakdown and disruption, what happens under the “surface of things.” In “Poor George,” her debut novel, Fox told of a bored school teacher and the teen vagrant who upends his life. “Desperate Characters,” her most highly regarded work of fiction, is a portrait of New York City’s civic and domestic decline in the 1960s, a plague symbolized by the bite of a stray cat.

“It seems to me that in life, behind all these names and things and people and forces, there’s a dark energy,” Fox said in a 2011 interview.

Her work was out of print for years, but she enjoyed a late-life revival thanks to the admiration of such younger authors as Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Lethem. She lived for decades in Brooklyn and was a revered figure in the New York City borough’s thriving literary community.

Her other books included the novels “A Servant’s Tale,” “The Western Coast” and a memoir about living in Europe after World War II, “The Coldest Winter.” Fox also wrote more than a dozen children’s books, including “The Slave Dancer,” winner of the Newbery medal in 1974.