Faber Members get 10% off their first order

A Gate at the Stairs

Lorrie Moore

In her dazzling new novel – her first in over a decade – Lorrie Moore turns her eye on the anxiety and disconnection of modern America.

Out of stock

Buy from
Date Published
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.

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.

Critic Reviews

'Enthralling ... in [Tassie] Moore has created an off-beam heroine for our post-9/11 world.'

Harper's Bazaar
Critic Reviews

'Stamped with her characteristic blend of wit, humor and tragedy.'

Alexandra Alter, Wall Street Journal
Critic Reviews

'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)
Critic Reviews

'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.'

Critic Reviews

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
Critic Reviews

Original, and at times hilarious read ... [an] emotional and powerful story.


Lorrie Moore, after serving for almost three decades as the Delmore Schwartz Professor in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been named the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Moore has received numerous grants and awards, from among others: the Lannan Foundation, the National Books Critics Circle, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.…

Read More
More books by Lorrie Moore