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.
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?