ellaz, January 25, 2010 (view all comments by ellaz)
Just finished this amazing book last night. was my first Lorrie More book, and loved it. it did make me cry when i read the last email from robert to tessie! hope i didn't ruin the book for those who haven't finished it or made it that far in the book. but oh soo worth the wait from my local library. a great great read for anyone. highly recommend it for any reader!!
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Laurie Blum, September 9, 2009 (view all comments by Laurie Blum)
As I was raising my young family, I always thought that when "a gate at the stairs" was installed, the purpose was to protect children from accidentally falling!
After reading Lorrie Moore's "A Gate at the Stairs" I now realize that this new novel's title refers to a meditation on the meaning of life, death, race, in addition to parenting. It's a unique tale of growing up, meeting new people & getting to know your own family better. This book is narrated by main character Tessa, a 20-year old, who was raised in a farming town & goes to the "big city," where she is surprised to discover Asian restaurants, dishonest men & a roommate with as much energy for life as she possesses. Tessa is hired as the nanny to an African American little girl adopted by caucasian parents, who have some significantly odd ideas about parenting plus a colorful history.
Though "A Gate At The Stairs" takes many sorrow-filled heartrending twists & turns, Tessa is not maudlin or maddening. She seems very real, crawls right into your heart & soul. I really enjoyed this book but gave it only 4 stars based on some chapters of endless "overheard" dialogue, mostly addressing race, which ended up sounding like a lecture or a rambling TV talk show. My other concern is that Ms. Moore lets Tessa have just a little bit too much fun with puns & rhymes albeit amusing & inventive. Still, I give this book my personal thumb's up as a beautiful, challenging work of character, plot & graceful, descriptive language, which will provide numerous issues for discussion. Do not miss this author's short stories!
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Knopf Publishing Group -
by Jill Owens,
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.
by Jill Owens
"Review A Day"
by Holloway McCandless, Identity Theory,
"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)
by Jonathan Lethem, New York Times Book 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."
by Vanity Fair,
"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."
by Vince Passaro, O, The Oprah Magazine,
"The ending of this book is a miracle of lyric force, beautiful and beautifully constructed."
by Booklist (starred),
"The unique vision and exquisite writing cast a spell."
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