Nothing in Moore?s novel really coheres, which reads like a hastily edited manuscript created by pasting in small snippets of fictional ideas, but this last episode is mind-bogglingly nonsensical, unconnected to the larger whole of the novel and ridiculous in almost every single way. It caps a novel that is so complacent and self-absorbed as to be completely irrelevant. Its handling of characters is largely incompetent, so much so, indeed, that you need to stop following characters and plot and just take things as they come. Ideas and narrative possibilities are tossed into the air either to be forgotten or to be tied off untidily at the end. It gets so bad that at one point I thought maybe the book was a satire, satirizing Tassie Keltjin, and those who share her point of view, but even this, ultimately, didn?t pan out, because the book wraps up in one great conciliatory movement. It situates the book firmly among other coming of age tales, and confirms the book?s utter mediocrity. A Gate at the Stairs
is one severe disappointment, a gaudy empty box that smells a bit funny. Do not read this book.