In her best-selling story collection, Birds of America ([it] will stand by itself as one of our funniest, most telling anatomies of human love and vulnerability James McManus, front page of The New York Times Book Review), Lorrie Moore wrote about the disconnect between men and women, about the precariousness of women on the edge, and about loneliness and loss.
Now, in her dazzling new novelher first in more than a decadeMoore turns her eye on the anxiety and disconnection of post-9/11 America, on the insidiousness of racism, the blind-sidedness of war, and the recklessness thrust on others in the name of love.
As the United States begins gearing up for war in the Middle East, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, the Midwesterndaughter of a gentleman hill farmerhis Keltjin potatoes are justifiably famoushas come to a university town as a college student, her brain on fire with Chaucer, Sylvia Plath, Simone de Beauvoir.
Between semesters, she takes a job as a part-time nanny.
The family she works for seems both mysterious and glamorous to her, and although Tassie had once found children boring, she comes to care for, and to protect, their newly adopted little girl as her own.
As the year unfolds and she is drawn deeper into each of these lives, her own life back home becomes ever more alien to her: her parents are frailer; her brother, aimless and lost in high school, contemplates joining the military. Tassie finds herself becoming more and more the stranger she felt herself to be, and as life and love unravel dramatically, even shockingly, she is forever changed.
This long-awaited new novel by one of the most heralded writers of the past two decades is lyrical, funny, moving, and devastating; Lorrie Moores most ambitious book to datetextured, beguiling, and wise.
It's hard to fight the urge to scrawl "love love love" in red crayon across the page, or to make a beribboned valentine full of sappy verse in lieu of actually reviewing Lorrie Moore's new book. She tops all my lists (top 10 books, top 5 writers, books you'd take to a deserted island), and my copies of her novels and short stories are filled with bookmarked passages, lovingly read over and over again. Is A Gate at the Stairs her best work? No. But it may be the one that finally brings her the readership she deserves. (Reviewed by Lucia Silva).
The Washington Post
What's so endearing is Moore's ability to tempt us with humor into the surreal boundaries of human experience, those strange decisions that make no sense out of context, the things we can't believe anyone would do.
The New York Times
Ms. Moore gives us stark, melancholy glimpses into her characters' hearts, mapping their fears and disappointments, their hidden yearnings and their more evanescent efforts to hold on to their dreams in the face of unfurling misfortune.
The New York Times Book Review
[Moore]'s a discomfiting, sometimes even rageful writer, lurking in the disguise of an endearing one. On finishing A Gate at the Stairs I turned to the reader nearest to me and made her swear to read it immediately
The challenge for readers is to reconcile the beautiful sharpness of her language with two wildly improbable plot threads.
The enrichment of such complications makes this one of the year's best novels, yet it is Tassie's eye that makes us better readers of life.
Starred Review. [A] luminous, heart-wrenchingly wry novel. . . Moore’s graceful prose considers serious emotional and political issues with low-key clarity and poignancy. . . generous flashes of wit endow this stellar novel with great heart.
Starred Review. The unique vision and exquisite writing cast a spell.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by shelly A Gate At The Stairs I read this book with my book group or I never would have finished it. I kept thinking "what am I missing?" because I just didn't get it. I thought it was written by an 18 year old so I guess in that regard the author nailed the voice.... Read More
Rated of 5
by J. Hampshire Wouldn't recommend In our small book club of seven no one enjoyed this book. Perhaps our club is to new and our reading skills are not all that deep. We just want to read a good story and we sure did not find it in this book. There are so many things going one it's... Read More
Transcendent stories: about the uncertain gestures of love, about the betrayals and gifts of the body, about the surprises and bounties of the heart, and about what comes to us unbidden and what we choose.
A moving depiction of the transformative power of first love, Hamann's first novel follows Eveline Auerbach from her high school years in East Hampton, New York, in the 1970s through her early adulthood in the moneyed, high-pressured Manhattan of the 1980s.
These are 2 of the 8 readalike suggestions for A Gate at the Stairs. Members have full access to all readalikes. If you are a member, please login. To find out more about membership, click here.
A sweeping, evocative epic of two women's intertwined fates and their search for identity, that moves from the lavish parlors of Shanghai courtesans to the fog-shrouded mountains of a remote Chinese...
YA author Ned Vizzini dies aged 32(Dec 20 2013) Ned Vizzini, the author of YA favorites It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Be More Chill, died Thursday in New York City. According to the Los Angeles Times,...