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A Gate at the Stairs

by

A Gate at the Stairs Cover

 

Awards

The Rooster 2010 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

Lorrie Moore has long been one of my favorite writers, and her first novel in years does not disappoint. With unique, full characters, an incredible level of emotional detail, and her trademark psychological wit, A Gate at the Stairs is a graceful, funny, powerful read.
Recommended by Jill Owens, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"No one who is a fan of Lorrie Moore, or of coming-of-age novels rich in wit and specificity, should resist reading A Gate At The Stairs. It contains patented Moore delights: mordant humor in shades of gray to charcoal, a quirky, self-deprecating heroine who notices both too much and not enough about the people in her life, a bushel of laugh-out-loud depictions of contemporary American mores and fripperies, and finally, a double examination of the fragility of love's intent." Holloway McCandless, Identity Theory (read the entire Identity Theory review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In her best-selling story collection, Birds of America, 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 novel — her first in more than a decade — Moore 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 Midwestern daughter of a gentleman hill farmer — his Keltjin potatoes are justifiably famous — has 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 Moore's most ambitious book to date — textured, beguiling, and wise.

Review:

"Moore may be the most irresistible contemporary American writer....On finishing A Gate at the Stairs, I turned to the reader nearest to me and made her swear to read it immediately." Jonathan Lethem, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"With dizzying wit and acute intelligence...A Gate at the Stairs features a Midwestern coed turned part-time nanny drawn into the full-time drama of a family who all demand babysitting." Vanity Fair

Review:

"The ending of this book is a miracle of lyric force, beautiful and beautifully constructed." Vince Passaro, O, The Oprah Magazine

Review:

"The unique vision and exquisite writing cast a spell." Booklist (starred)

About the Author

Lorrie Moore is the author of the story collections Birds of America, Like Life, and Self-Help and the novels Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? and Anagrams. Her work has won honors from the Lannan Foundation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the Irish Times International Prize for Fiction, the Rea Award for the Short Story, and the PEN/Malamud Award. She is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

hs, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by hs)
a great read.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Deborah Turski, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Deborah Turski)
unforgettable depiction, including indelible image, of sibling connections and effects of one's fate on another.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
Anita, September 28, 2010 (view all comments by Anita)
While I loved the writing and by no means am a person needing concrete, tied in pretty bow endings I was let down by this story. Loose ends and plot lines that, while intriguing, go nowhere.
I spent big bucks to buy in hdbk based on fantastic reviews. Meh... C+
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780375409288
Author:
Moore, Lorrie
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
College students
Subject:
Nannies
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
fiction;adoption;novel;college;coming of age;wisconsin;racism;american;family;race;midwest;contemporary;21st century;death;babysitting;nannies;literary fiction;american fiction;relationships;war;literature;usa;children;contemporary fiction;parenting;farm;
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20090901
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.64x6.08x1.26 in. 1.10 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2010
Featured Titles » NYT Ten Best Books » 2009
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age

A Gate at the Stairs Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780375409288 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Lorrie Moore has long been one of my favorite writers, and her first novel in years does not disappoint. With unique, full characters, an incredible level of emotional detail, and her trademark psychological wit, A Gate at the Stairs is a graceful, funny, powerful read.

"Review A Day" by , "No one who is a fan of Lorrie Moore, or of coming-of-age novels rich in wit and specificity, should resist reading A Gate At The Stairs. It contains patented Moore delights: mordant humor in shades of gray to charcoal, a quirky, self-deprecating heroine who notices both too much and not enough about the people in her life, a bushel of laugh-out-loud depictions of contemporary American mores and fripperies, and finally, a double examination of the fragility of love's intent." (read the entire Identity Theory review)
"Review" by , "Moore may be the most irresistible contemporary American writer....On finishing A Gate at the Stairs, I turned to the reader nearest to me and made her swear to read it immediately."
"Review" by , "With dizzying wit and acute intelligence...A Gate at the Stairs features a Midwestern coed turned part-time nanny drawn into the full-time drama of a family who all demand babysitting."
"Review" by , "The ending of this book is a miracle of lyric force, beautiful and beautifully constructed."
"Review" by , "The unique vision and exquisite writing cast a spell."
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