a gate at the stairs review.

Lorrie Moore is an author I have seen pop up numerous times on recommendation lists. I know she has quite a few books out there, but I never got around to reading anything by her.

Enter: library annual book sale. Back in February, pre-world madness, my neighborhood library held a massive book sale. Hardback books were $1 and paperbacks were $.50. I was in HEAVEN. I did about 20 laps around the place adding another book to my bag each time. I was really excited picking out of the crowd of books the name, Lorrie Moore.

Instantly the book went into my bag and I was on my merry way. The book I ended up with was A Gate at the Stairs. Moore’s style of writing is so descriptive and almost long-winded. I felt like I was the broke college student looking for a part-time job. I love any book that has immersive language and I become part of the story. That’s the magic of reading, in my opinion.

It was like the classic scene in the movies where one lover is on the train and one is on the platform and the train starts to pull away, and the lover on the platform begins to trot along and then jog and then sprint and then gives up altogether as the train speeds irrevocably off. Except in this case I was all the parts: I was the lover on the platform, I was the lover on the train. And I was also the train.

The story of Tassie Keltjin, a 20-year-old college student, and her navigation through life and becoming a nanny for a family, is unique. It’s a slice of life type of story, where there really isn’t a conflict and resolution. It’s more of the ups and downs of every day life. I enjoyed that a lot.

“When you find out who you are, you will no longer be innocent. That will be sad for others to see. All that knowledge will show on your face and change it. But sad only for others, not for yourself. You will feel you have a kind of wisdom, very mistaken, but a mistake of some power to you and so you will sadly treasure it and grow it.”

The entire plot takes place in the year after 9/11, so many aspects of the novel involve characters processing and adjusting to that new way of life. It’s interesting to see how it plays out into Tassie’s and her family’s life.

“I wondered about the half-life of regret.”

So this is my first experience reading Moore and there are quite a few others I’d like to read down the road. Check her out, her writing is fantastic.

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