Redux – How Soon They Forget

Ever started to read a book, and realize you’ve read it before? The ads from the book review section of the New York Times piqued my interest; this book came out last year, but is now in paperback.

After reviewing the book cover (still no clue about it) and then renewing A Gate at the Stairs twice from the library, hoping I’d remember – but didn’t –  I read it – again, it seems.

Like a scratched DVD that skips, the book started to trigger those cached impressions in my brain:  the twenty year old college student who takes the job as nanny to an adopted  baby yet to be born; her father, the gourmet potato farmer; her mother, who used mirrors to improve her flowers’ growth; the restaurant-owner/would-be mother, frazzled with overwork and angst in trying to find a birth mother who will give her a child – any child – eventually a bi-racial child.    The funny asides, the heart-breaking realities…

Life was unendurable, yet everywhere it was being endured.

But did I remember the plot?  the ending?  the message? the significance of the gate?  the stairs?   No!

So I read it again.  Was it worth it?  Sort of.  Moore’s thought-provoking observations sometimes go on too long, leaving the events secondary – maybe that’s why I did not remember it.  But when Gabriel re-enters the story, it all came back – this time the horror, the idiocy of people, was not a surprise.

But rereading A Gate at the Stairs brought also back a welcome familiarity with Tassie, the novel’s fulcrum – her wise sarcasm and Midwestern humor balancing the world going crazy around her.

I may have enjoyed it more the first time when it didn’t seem  so much like déjà vu.

Anyone else read it?  once or twice?

2 thoughts on “Redux – How Soon They Forget

  1. I read this – I should say I tried and managed about half but was disappointed in it. There had been so much hype since it was a long time since her earlier success. It seemed a convoluted story at best but what really got to me was the overwrought language. I felt the author was trying to pack every sentence with so many metaphors that I lost track of where the story was going.

    • I’d heard about her first book too – collection of short stories – Birds of America – but I still haven’t looked for it.

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