Reviews in 200 Words

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore

In Novel on October 29, 2009 at 2:05 pm


These are characters to be missed. Falling in love with all of them, just a bit, seems the natural thing to do. Their flaws are understandable and worthy. Tassie Keltjin has the wry sarcasm of Ellen Page’s character in Juno–unending and oddly attractive. A college kid in Midwestern, USA: a town that is, “One of a thousand forgotten poppy seeds scattered across the state map, scorched grains of cornmeal on the bottom of the pizza, a thousand black holes, pinpricks with little names.” Tassie finds a (soon-to-be) nanny job working for Sarah Brink and her husband, Edward as they set out to adopt a child. Moore’s puns and unending game of leap-frog with language don’t get old. Listening-in on Sarah’s Wednesday night parent groups is hilarious–entertaining to the point of genuine, ongoing laughter. The complexity of the plot doesn’t fully unpack itself until it’s over. Small realizations hatch as you walk away from it the way a new understanding of an epic poem finally sinks in. Know that you’ll read this again–the same way that you’ll rent great movies again–to laugh and cry at the same parts, and understand people and life a little better.

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