Set in the midwest, mostly in a university town (author Lorrie Moore teaches at the University of Wiscosin) A Gate at the Stairs is a coming of age novel. Tassie Kelgin is a university student trying to make ends meet and seeking companionship since her roommate has a new boyfriend. She is hired as a nanny by a strange (as in, not midwestern) sophisticated older couple who are trying to adopt a child. At the same time she begins a relationship with a “Brazilian” boy. Set shortly after 9/11 this novel explores issues of racism, family, and love. Although there is a building sense of impending doom, I was unprepared for the tragedy when it came. Still, there is a great deal of humor as Tassie describes her reactions to what is going on around her, and the writing draws you in to a compelling story.
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A Gate at the Stairs
by Susan on December 30th, 2009