Sunday, March 07, 2010

A GATE AT THE STAIRS by Lorrie Moore (2009)

Marketed as a post-9/11 novel, A GATE AT THE STAIRS follows mid-Western university gal Tassie Keltjin as she navigates her way through the words and action of a post-racial America.

She is excited to have escaped the farm life of her upbringing to study Chaucer, Sylvia Plath and Simone de Beauvoir and finds herself taking a job as a part time nanny for a quirky middle-aged couple who are in the process of adopting a biracial toddler. Tassie peels away the layers in her relationship with her new employers to discover a dark and disturbing past at the same time that she worries about her younger brother who is considering enlisting in order to avoid his future as a farmer or a truckdriver, the only two options that seem available to him.

I read this book in one gulp, even though there were moments that I was ready to hurl it across the room because of the preciousness of some of the bit players, which I realize is entirely the point that Moore is satirizing.

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