A Gate at the Stairs
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Autor/en: Lorrie Moore
29. Oktober 2009 - epub eBook - 331 Seiten
With America quietly gearing up for war in the Middle East, twenty-year-old Tassie Keltjin, a 'half-Jewish' farmer's daughter from the plains of the Midwest, has come to university - escaping her provincial home to encounter the complex world of culture and politics.
When she takes a job as a part-time nanny to a couple who seem at once mysterious and glamorous, Tassie is drawn into the life of their newly-adopted child and increasingly complicated household. As her past becomes increasingly alien to her - her parents seem older when she visits; her disillusioned brother ever more fixed on joining the military - Tassie finds herself becoming a stranger to herself. As the year unfolds, love leads her to new and formative experiences - but it is then that the past and the future burst forth in dramatic and shocking ways.
Refracted through the eyes of this memorable narrator, A Gate at the Stairs is a lyrical, beguiling and wise novel of our times.
'Enthralling ... in [Tassie] Moore has created an off-beam heroine for our post-9/11 world.' Harper's Bazaar 'Stamped with her characteristic blend of wit, humor and tragedy.' -- Alexandra Alter Wall Street Journal 'The brilliance of Moore's approach to this forbidding subject is that it is so tangential: not until you have been mesmerized by a scarcely related story line does her real purpose become clear ... the result is at once exhilarating and heart-wrenching.' -- Anthony Gardner Intelligent Life (Economist) 'Lorrie Moore confirms her skill for producing instantly likeable protagonists ... Moore's lyrical and, by turns, deadpan prose renders even the most incidental of observations poignant.' Vogue Moore is excellent at the foolish, touching, fresh intensities of first lust. She is superb, too at the combination of achingly sensuous tenderness and equally aching tedium that go into looking after a young child. There is plenty of admire and plenty to make one think in this novel. -- Caroline Moore Spectator Original, and at times hilarious read ... [an] emotional and powerful story. Image 'Hence the mix of excitement and trepidation that even adoring readers will bring to Moore's third novel. Will it be great? Will Moore prove that she is not synonymous with less? Hell yes! It is and she does. She's on fire for 300 pages! You can sit back and have the time of your life reading A Gate at the Stairs ... it quivers on the brink of being a masterpiece.' -- Geoff Dyer Observer 'The book is written in Moore's signature tone: funny, quirky, surprising, lyrical.' -- Sophie Gee Financial Times 'There is a moment in A Gate at the Stairs when the narrative, which has seemed entirely realistic, suddenly passes into a quasi-magical realm in which the body of a child named for an angel curves through the air, and a bat flies out of the cuff of a dead boy's winter coat. With Moore, the link between the two imaginative realms is always language: she swerves with exhilarating precision, often in the space of a sentence, between the mythic and a robust, almost homely, comic sensibility. The effect is at once unbearably poignant and shockingly funny - a brilliant and highly disturbing combination.' -- Jane Shilling Sunday Telegraph 'One of the great pleasures of reading is having the commonplace, the prosaic, the stuff you grapple with on a quotidian basis, explained to you in an entirely fresh and bracing way. That brings me to the subject of Lorrie Moore - a writer who, throughout her career, has taken all the day-to-day detritus of life and explained it to us in an entirely fresh and bracing way ... The novel under review is her first book in 11 years, and her more usual form is the short story (the treat of her Collected Stories was published by Faber and Faber in paperback this year). She is one of those rare serious modern writers who (shock, horror) finds humour in life's complexities and frequent banalities. But like a sleight-of-hand magician, Moore can brilliantly shift gear and instantly expose the aching loneliness at the heart of the human condition, and do so with an acuity that forces us to consider the desperation with which we all grapple. As such, she is one of the major writers at work today - precisely because, by daring to use wit in a wholly wicked and insightful way, by resolutely concentrating on the dramas of so-called small lives, and by never attempting to scale that edifice marked Great American Novel, she has nonetheless created a body of work that is splendidly original and very much her own. And in A Gate at the Stairs it is clear that she is writing with a stylistic control and emotional maturity that few of her contemporaries can match ... But one of the many exhilarating things about this novel is how Moore manages to juggle such disparate material with such aplomb. This is one of those deceptive novels that seduces you with its surface smartness, yet quietly makes its profundity apparent. For Moore's subject is nothing less than the way we discover, at a certain vulnerable age, the compromise and sadness at the heart of most human interactions - and the way we seem almost programmed to complicate our lives at all costs ... It's a masterly performance by a writer who says very large things about the way we live now by refusing to say very large things about the way we live now.' -- Douglas Kennedy The Times 'Her recurrent theme has been the perplexities of love and the salve of female companionship, both of which are shown to be rooted in language ...language is a continual source of comedy in A Gate at the Stairs, but it is also a tool of manipulation and concealment ... for everything that is said, jauntily or repeatedly or at length, there are many things left darkly silent.' -- Leo Robson New Statesman 'Moore [is a] bold and addictive literary writer ... [A Gate at the Stairs] is wholly admirable.' -- Brian Donaldson The List 'Complex and often comical family dynamic ... funny, dazzling, rich and haunting, this book will make you re-examine your role in the world.' Psychologies 'Fans of Lorrie Moore should rest assured that this long-awaited novel is chock-full of her customary word play, the sugar with which she coats her biting social commentary. Her appraisal of post-9/11 America is engaging, witty and quietly devastating; this story follows characters who are distorted, as though in a house of mirrors by the trials of life and time.' Waterstones Books Quarterly 'If Tassie is puppy-faced, she is beguilingly so. The narrative voice of Lorrie Moore's third novel - and the first major offering after an 11-year hiatus - is simultaneously naive and knowing. Tessie might profess to be emotionally unformed but her voice is a magnificently mature stream-of-consciousness, which engulfs the reader with the wit, wisdom and occasional blasts of venom of a far older Tassie who is looking back ... Moore's prose is full of the same stylistic puns and ribaldry of her short stories; but it also contains exquisite poetry which does not allow the reader to skim read or skit on the surface. It demands total absorption, with its verbal coils and spirals, and her wordplay ... sparkles with intelligence ... her sentences which, one imagines, were lovingly hewn, carved and polished, over Moore's 11 years of poetic silence, emerging now like a thing of beauty.' -- Arifa Akbar Independent A Gate at the Stairs starts as both domestic comedy and a coming-of-age story, and at first zips along so beguilingly, only a seer would not be lulled by it. Reading Moore's sentences, so agile and so funny, is like watching Gene Kelly cross a wet pavement: you smile; you tap your toe; you never want the dance to end ... this is a book which attempts to deal with the anxieties of the age - racism, climate change, terrorism - in a manner that reflects the way they touch most of our lives: sometimes tangentially, occasionally catastrophically. Hard not to admire that. Most of all though, there is Moore herself, who crams more ideas and emotions into a single paragraph than most writers conjure over the course of an entire book. Her fans have waited 11 years fir this novel. They will fall upon it, as I did, in much the same way that Tassie eventually falls on one of Sarah's crazy but delicious dinners: prayerfully, with amazement and grateful thanks. -- Rachel Cooke Evening Standard Scintillating and horrifying new novel, which veers between an appalled recognition of our hopelessness in the face of slowly unfolding events and a quietly amused understanding of our determination to translate our incompetence into a language that can help us bear them ... Moore goes beyond the specifics of the adoption business, or of racial integration in contemporary American society, and beyond the particularities of her characters' lives and idiosyncrasies. As its plot unfolds - vast, previously unknown slices of history slowly come into view, terrible disasters strike - A Gate at the Stairs also focuses on the slow workings of consequence and the attendant inevitability of regret. Having begun in semi-satirical vein, beguiling us with those idle spirals and verbal coils and neatly slotting us into a more or less standard coming-of-age story, Moore appears to revel in the outlandishness of the tragedies that she visits on her creations, and to dare the reader to take issue with the willful waywardness of her vision ... The author's commitment to depicting that daily impossibility resonates through the verbal facility and tongue-in-cheek levity of her writing. It's difficult to imagine Moore, one of the most talented miniaturists of her generation, writing a work much bleaker than this; but it is also hard to imagine one much truer. -- Alex Clark Guardian Sarah's avidly right-on household is Moore at her very best: every exchange feels funny, awful, and true ... Like all of Moore's books, A Gate at the Stairs is unflaggingly tender and smart. -- Sophie Harrison Sunday Times 'Moore's class diagnostics are so exact she can make us feel the uneasiness not only between town and country in a single state, but between different types of farmers on neighbouring plots. The book is also set in the autumn of 2001, a fact that Moore has the patience to barely deploy for 200 pages, and then only with a deft sleight of hand that will make readers reflect on the ways so many other fictional treatments of 9/11 have resembled heart surgery with a croquet mallet ... combined with her immaculately tender portrayals of young children, so real you want to pass around their snapshots, this aspect of her novel [the bureaucracy of adoption] will do such things to your heart that you may find yourself wishing for the surgeon with the croquet mallet, just for the mercy ... great writers usually present us with mysteries, but the mystery Lorrie Moore presents consists of appearing genial, joshing and earnest at once - unmysterious, in other words, yet still great. She's a discomfiting, sometimes even rageful writer, lurking in the disguise of an endearing one.' -- Jonathan Lethem Scotsman 'Does not disappoint ... the first success of A Gate at the Stairs is Tassie's young, original narrative voice, a frequent source of humour.' -- Paula Shields Sunday Business Post 'An arresting tale that is heartbreakingly true to life.' -- Fanny Blake Woman & Home 'A tender, truthful and devastatingly honest coming-of-age novel ... vividly and hauntingly original, this is unmissable.' -- Eithne Farry Marie Claire A Gate at the Stairs is undisputably a rich and resonant book, with a style of unstoppable playfulness and invention, and a huge emotional range from silliness and satire to macabre tragedy and grief. -- Elaine Showalter Literary Review The wait has been worthwhile ... [this is a] witty, wise coming-of-age tale ... a masterpiece which confirms Moore as one of America's finest writers. -- Carla Mckay Daily Mail So fast-paced and readable, it takes your breath away. -- Viv Groskop Red Exploring tragedy with comedy has been the basis of Moore's most successful writing; it is her great gift to give us characters whose quips reveal their despair, whose jokes are melancholy and elegiac, not a war on pain but the art of turning it into exuberant anagrams where that pain is still legible. -- Alexis Kirschbaum Times Literary Supplement 'I just finished Lorrie Moore's new novel, 'A Gate at the Stairs'. It's quirky and full of perfect sentences, sentences I wanted to cup in my hands and carry around like fireflies (though the sentences would probably bite).' -- Audrey Niffenegger Independent Doesn't disappoint ... a hugely seductive and clever novel, engrossing, entertaining, brilliant at evoking the Kafka-worthy bureaucracy of adoption agencies. -- Carolyn Hart The Lady The beautifully written characters draw you helplessly into their lovely, shambolic and sometimes tragic world. She Astute and lots of suspense Stylist magazine
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