Sadness. Lorrie Moore’s new novel, A Gate At the Stairs, is a year in the life of the twenty-year-old protagonist, Tassie Keltjin, as she leaves her rural Wisconsin home for her first year in college. Funny, sad, biting, witty: the lyrical writing encompasses all that and more. Filled with an eclectic cast of characters, a twisting plot and plenty of contemporary social issues, A Gate At the Stairs taps into fears, vulnerability, and leads to laughter side-by-side with sadness. Lorrie grows up fast during this year, as she gains insight into the consequences of the things we do as adults as well as the things we fail to do. The relationship between parents and children provides much of the material for the novel. I liked A Gate At the Stairs because it does so much of what I want a fine novel to do: draw me into the lives of characters so I can learn about myself and others as I read about how these characters behave in living through life’s ups and downs.
Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)