A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
(Vintage Contemporaries)

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Synopsis

Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award
Finalist for the Orange Prize for Fiction
Chosen as a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, Kansas City Star, Financial Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Real Simple

Twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, the daughter of a gentleman farmer, has come to a university town as a student. When she takes a job as a part-time nanny for a mysterious and glamorous family, she finds herself drawn deeper into their world and forever changed. Told through the eyes of this memorable narrator, A Gate at the Stairs is a piercing novel of race, class, love, and war in America.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Lorrie Moore

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Lorrie More is the author of the story collections Birds of America and Self-Help, and the novels Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? and Anagrams. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. She is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
 
Published August 19, 2009 by Vintage. 338 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Gate at the Stairs

Kirkus Reviews

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In How Fiction Works, the tutorial by the New Yorker critic and Harvard professor, James Wood writes, “Literature makes us better noticers of life;

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The New York Times

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Lorrie Moore described her new book, “A Gate at the Stairs,” as a meditation on “what it meant to be in this town in the Midwest in this particular time in contemporary America.”

Sep 02 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

The New York Times

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Moore has come in the last two and half decades from her keenly observed but jokey 1985 collection of stories, “Self-Help,” which showcased her gifts as a writer but also underscored her — and her characters’ — emotional reticence, their reluctance to open themselves to deeply felt experiences.

Aug 27 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

The New York Times

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I’m aware of one — one — reader who doesn’t care for Lorrie Moore, and even that one seems a little apologetic about it.

Aug 27 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

The Guardian

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A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore 322pp, Faber, £16.99 "And what if," wonders 20-year-old Tassie Keltjin, taking her first plane journey, "oxygen deprivation in the cabin caused one to think in idle spirals and desperate verbal coils like this for the rest of one's life?"

Oct 03 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

The Guardian

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Did it matter – did it gnaw away at her – that in spite of the high critical standing enjoyed by her stories, Lorrie Moore had not come up with the big novel by which writers, American ones especially, tend to be judged?

Sep 27 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

New York Journal of Books

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The 9/11 and war-related stories overwhelm the novel and detract from the strongest part of the book.

Aug 24 2010 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

Star Tribune

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At times this book so bursts with writerly flourishes you might get annoyed. But Moore is an intelligent writer and this coming-of-age novel is one to read and savor.

Sep 05 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

Book Reporter

Best known for the penetrating wit and acute insight of short stories like those in her brilliant collection BIRDS OF AMERICA, it has taken Lorrie Moore 15 years to produce a successor to her last novel, WHO WILL RUN THE FROG HOSPITAL?

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

The Washington Post

The first paragraph of Lorrie Moore's new novel imagines songbirds caught by a killing frost, heaps of them piling up in a cornfield and others dropping from the sky.

Sep 02 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

The Telegraph

Moore is herself the adoptive parent of a mixed-race son and the snatches of conversation that Tassie overhears have a grim comic verisimilitude: “‘Racial blindness is a white idea.’ ‘Post-racial is a white idea.’ ‘A lot of ideas are white ideas.’” Tassie thinks caustically: “It had a...

Sep 26 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

Christian Science Monitor

Family, race, and religion mingle in Lorrie Moore's incisive coming-of-age novel about a college girl disillusioned by what she sees of adult life.

Sep 18 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

Pajiba

The introduction to Sarah (the mother) sums up that unease perfectly: “I feared Sarah was on those women who instead of laughing said, ‘That’s Funny,’ or instead of smiling said, ‘That’s interesting,’ or instead of saying, ‘You are a stupid blithering idiot,’ said ,’Well, I think it’s a little mo...

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

In a recent talk, Lorrie Moore suggested that twenty is "the universal age of passion" – the point at which the unique shape and expression of our feelings like love and disgust and fury becomes fixed.

Sep 14 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

The Daily Beast

You can't say you don't see the trouble coming, not in a novel where the first line is "The cold came late that fall and the songbirds were caught off guard."

Aug 28 2009 | Read Full Review of A Gate at the Stairs (Vintage...

Oprah.com

You can laugh, as I did, reading in the early pages of Moore's new novel, A Gate at the Stairs , her college-age narrator Tassie's droll remarks on her mortality: "Death would come to me—I knew this from reading British poetry," but even here, while the book is struggling to its feet, you can fe...

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