Emerging with her first novel in 15 years, Lorrie Moore proves her mettle outside the short story genre. “A Gate at the Stairs,” published by Knopf, is the coming-of-age story of Tassie Keltjin, and Moore’s witty prose belies the darkness of Tassie’s journey. “The story’s apparent modesty and ambling pace are deceptive, a cover for profound reflections on marriage and parenthood, racism and terrorism, and especially the baffling, hilarious, brutal initiation to adult life—what all of us learn to endure in the dry terror of cluelessness,’” says the Washington Post. Propelled into a wider world after starting college, Tassie begins navigating life’s surprises and its vast contradictions on the cusp of 9/11. Her encounters are as strange as they are poignant, her revelations expertly fashioned. “[T]his novel explores, with enormous emotional precision, the limitations and insufficiencies of love, and the loneliness that haunts even the most doting of families,” writes Michiko Kakutani for the New York Times. In her narrator’s observant voice, Moore marvels at the world and its irregularities.