Customer Reviews for

A Gate at the Stairs

Average Rating 3
( 164 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(44)

2 Star

(37)

1 Star

(24)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

This is a terrific character study of a a young woman just after 9/11 trying to make sense of a world that seems out of control

In the Midwest in September 2001, twenty years old Tassie Keltjin, daughter of a gentleman potato farmer, is at college looking forward to the greats of literature. In between her semesters, she takes a position as a nanny to restaurateur Sarah Brink, who has no childr...
In the Midwest in September 2001, twenty years old Tassie Keltjin, daughter of a gentleman potato farmer, is at college looking forward to the greats of literature. In between her semesters, she takes a position as a nanny to restaurateur Sarah Brink, who has no children yet but is considering adoption.

Sarah begins her search for a suitable pregnant woman who does not want to raise a child or have an abortion. She has a choice between a girl without a brain or a white female whose African-American boyfriend dumped her when she mentioned the "P" word. Meanwhile Tassie receives an education on social class and race relationships while finding a lover Reynaldo, who conceals from her elements of his life.

This is a terrific character study of a a young woman just after 9/11 trying to make sense of a world that seems out of control from her relative understanding. Tassie makes the story line as the center holding it together with her wonderful mix of gentle naivety and Midwestern potato wisdom. Fans will enjoy her escapades with 9/11 in the backdrop as Lorrie Moore explores the issues that split society through her intelligent yet bewildered protagonist coming of age.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on August 12, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Moore's Novel Lacks Her Short Fiction's Appeal

I've read serveral of Lorrie Moore's insightful, witty stories--mostly in The New Yorker magazine--and she's an excellent short fiction writer. But her novel, "A Gate at the Stairs," is weak. (That's not so unusual. Many short story writers can't write a decent novel...
I've read serveral of Lorrie Moore's insightful, witty stories--mostly in The New Yorker magazine--and she's an excellent short fiction writer. But her novel, "A Gate at the Stairs," is weak. (That's not so unusual. Many short story writers can't write a decent novel--Alice Munro, for one.) The characters and the plot in "A Gate at the Stairs" start out being intersting, but that interest peters out as the novel plods along. By far the most intriguing character, a sassy, toothless, and pregnant delinquent named Amber, shows up early in the book--and then is never seen again! What a shame. Moore should have written the novel about Amber. By the time I got to the last quarter of the book, I was skimming--never a good sign.

posted by JerryRome on October 26, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 1 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2010

    boring and over staged

    just can't get to like this book - and first time ever that no one in my bookclub finished the book. Usually we read all books no matter if we like them or not and usually someone will like the book. This was just plain waste of paper

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 5, 2011

    Sadly Disappointed :(

    I bought this book after I read a raving review in a magazine's book recommendation section. I thought I would connect with Tassie's character, because I too am a college girl from the Midwest, who is a nanny. However, I found the book to be unrealistic and it contained too many plot lines that were forced together, many of which were left hanging. I had to force myself to finish the book, which ultimately left me sadly disappointed and I wished I had spent my money elsewhere.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 4, 2010

    Disappointing

    I might be the only person out there who didn't like this novel. Or maybe not.

    There is too much going on - with both Moore's use of language and plot. Sometimes she'll utilize more than one simile to describe an object; it's as if she couldn't make up her mind which was better. Mosquitoes are compared with irises, "unbarbered boys," orchids, and "a gnome's sleigh." All in one sentence. Other lines just made me roll my eyes, like, "She would have to make do in this landlocked lake of love." And, please, enough with the wordplay. Moore is notorious for this, but in this novel it began to grow tiresome. The plot, too, wearied me, specifically all the losses Tassie sustains near the end. What real purpose does Reynaldo serve, for example? Must we have him up and disappear, quite probably part of a terrorist cell, the adopted child taken away, and Tassie's brother killed? All this and a discussion regarding race and racism and war? I would have liked to see Moore settle on one story.

    Some of the most enjoyable pages for me concerned the group Tassie's employer gets together to discuss racism. Moore utilizes dialogue without acknowledging who says what. Very Barthelme.

    Other than that, ho hum. And I so liked Anagrams...

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2010

    horrible book

    this was the worst book ever. I have read books that I didn't enjoy before but this book was so bad I had to write this review. The characters lacked depth, Ms. Moore used way too many words to get her point across and the whole story was unrealistically depressing. What was she thinking and why did I finish this book?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2015

    This is one of the worst books I have ever read.. No one in our

    This is one of the worst books I have ever read.. No one in our book club was able to finish it and several people couldn't sustain interest past the first chapter. . This book needed strong editing, character development, consistency, and a plot worth reading. Borrow from the library if you must read it,

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    Tedious

    Language, like never-ending riffs on a guitar- scratching at every nerve-ending.

    Soliloquies on race, packaged as Wednesday night consciousness meetings.

    Jihadists hiding in homogenized midwest conducting affairs with benign farm girls.

    This book is much longer than it needs to be. I've never been a fan of the short story and less so now.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Wish I had read the reviews before I started the book. Bought i

    Wish I had read the reviews before I started the book. Bought it on the whim, have struggled through 3/4 and am finally giving up. Plot line leaves a lot to be desired, as does character development. Wish I hadn't wasted the time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Skimmed the last 20 pages

    I had such high hopes for this book, but was disappointed in the end. The tragedies were tragic, but i really did not feel connected to the main character who seemed so bland but yet had such overly rich internal dialogue. There were so many loose ends that left undone did nothing other than leave me irritated for wasting my time on this book. It had potential, but it got bogged down in flowery metaphors and descriptions. I never skim pages, but i did on this one .

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 3, 2011

    Don't waste your time

    I started reading this book and even though it was not very interesting I thought it might get better. It did not! Such a waste of time. This book has no real plot. Too many long winded descriptions and not enough story line.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2010

    Boring Book

    The book was terrible. I would not recommend. The characters were annoying and lacked any depth. Bought the book to read on a long plane ride. Sorry that I did. Forced to read the book because I didn't have another book to read. The writing was not very good. This is the first book I have read by Lorrie Moore. Don't think I will ever read another one of her books. Still don't get the point of what the book was trying to say.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2009

    Not recommended.

    I did not care for this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    what a disappointment!

    I'm sorry to say I did not enjoy this book. I had greatly looked forward to it, after enjoying her "Birds of America" stories so much. But this book hardly seemed like it was written by the same person. By the time the Terrible Revelation happened, I didn't care about or believe in the characters enough even to see what happened.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 review with 1 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 2