Lyrical, devastatingly funny, wise, and beguiling, A Gate at the Stairs is Lorrie Moore's most ambitious book to date. The long-awaited new novel from one of the most heralded writers of the past thirty years, A Gate at the Stairs is a book of stunning power. Set just after the events of September 2001, it is a story about Tassie Keltjin, a twenty-year-old making her way in a new world and coming of age. Tassie is a "smile-less" girl from the plains of the mid-west. She has come to a university town, her brain on fire with Chaucer, Sylvia Plath, and Simone de Beauvoir. In between semesters, she takes a part-time job as a nanny for a family that seems mysterious and glamorous to her. Though her liking for children tends to dwindle into boredom, Tassie begins to care for, and protect, their newly adopted little girl as her own. As the year unfolds, she is drawn even deeper into the world of the child and her hovering parents, and her own life back home becomes alien to her. As life reveals itself dramatically and shockingly, Tassie finds herself forever changed — less the person she once was, and more and more the stranger she feels herself to be. Under the novel's languid surface, Moore's deft and lyrical writing skillfully illustrates the heart of racism, the shock of war, and the carelessness perpetrated against others in the name of love. It is the novel for our time. From the Hardcover edition.