Sara's Reviews > A Gate at the Stairs

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
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Aug 30, 09

Read in August, 2009

I read an uncorrected proof of this and the experience was slightly jarring - typoes, sections that repeated themselves that I wasn't sure were intentional, etc. I can't say how close my copy is to the final published version but what I read was what I've come to expect from Moore - it's funny, it's emotionally complex, the prose is easily readable while also remaining incredibly rich, and the narrative voice is compelling to follow. It details roughly one year in the life of Tassie Keltjin, a twenty year old college student who has recently taken a babysitting job for a family that has adopted a bi-racial child. The action unfolds in the midwest, in the wake of 9/11. The last thirty pages are some of the most stunning I've read in some time. But there are some problems with the novel as a whole. It's lopsided. Two late-in-the-game revelations aren't carried off with as much finesse as their seriousness requires, though one of them is appropriately disturbing. And there are several long sections of unattributed dialogue where people are arguing about race that get rather grating. There are so many "issues" swirling through here that it might feel a little hot-button-y at times. But Moore wisely keeps things on an intimate scale, with the world at large only intruding, as it so often does, in the most devestating ways. A beautiful book. Let's only hope it's not another ten years before we hear from one of our strongest literary voices again.
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Glenn Cheney Regarding the uncorrected coy, I'm reading a final copy, and so far I've seen no typos, repetitions, or errors. I'm about 100 pages into. Excellent book. Brilliant images, metaphors, insights and such. I've heard complaints about her use of puns, but somehow she makes them unobtrusive.


Anastasia "And there are several long sections of unattributed dialogue where people are arguing about race " <--- the best part of the book for me.


Glenn Cheney I agree - the unattributed dialogue was a brilliant move, perfect in so many ways.


mehmet me, too. the dialogue was the best part of the book, i could have read it forever. no kidding.


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