Lo nuevo de Lorrie Moore
En un post en Paper Cuts Jenifer Balderrama califica de "Buzzy Book" a la nueva novela -A Gate at the Stairs- de Lorrie Moore debido al interés que pone la autora a los insectos en esta novela de 200 páginas aparecida luego de 11 años sin editar nada nuevo (15 años si pensamos en novela) y que transcurre en el Medio Oeste norteamericano (lleno de bichos y de burocracia estatal, como una novela midwest de Kafka) visto por los ojos de la protagonista veinteañera Tassie Keltjin (al parecer, por las reseñas, una mujer-moore a carta cabal). El no menos famoso Jonatham Lethem también ha puesto énfasis en las resonancias kafkianas de la novela en la reseña que le dedica en Sunday Book Review:
The novel’s protagonist and narrator, Tassie Keltjin, is a student at a Midwestern college mecca, daughter of a boutique potato cultivator, who finds work as the nanny-in-waiting for a brainy couple awkwardly on the verge of adoption. This ambiguous assignment takes the foreground in a tale ranging over Tassie’s home life and love life — the nest she’s just departed and the nest she’s hoping to flutter into. Moore’s class diagnostics are so exact she can make us feel the uneasiness not only between town and country in a single landlocked state, but between different types of farmers on neighboring plots. The book is also set in the autumn of 2001, a fact Moore has the patience to barely deploy for 200 pages, and then only with a deft sleight of hand that will make readers reflect on the ways so many other treatments of this (unfinished) passage in American life have resembled heart surgery performed with a croquet mallet. (...) Moore’s continuing interest in how power imbalances make themselves felt in human encounters fastens here on the Kafka-worthy bureaucracy of adoption agencies and foster homes. Combined with her immaculately tender portrayals of young children, so real you want to pass around their snapshots, this aspect of her novel will do such things to your heart that you may find yourself wishing for the surgeon with the croquet mallet, just for mercy.
Se sabe que, de una manera metafórica, esta novela es la respuesta de Lorrie Moore al impacto de los sucesos del 11/S. En la reseña de Ron Charles en The Washington Post comentan el primer capítulo (que pueden leer aquí) en esa clave:
The first paragraph of Lorrie Moore's new novel imagines songbirds caught by a killing frost, heaps of them piling up in a cornfield and others dropping from the sky. That ghoulish image and an allusion to Sept. 11 just a few paragraphs later cast a funereal shadow over this coming-of-age story, but Moore is such a bright, witty writer that it's easy to ignore those warnings. Then, like real life, she blindsides you with some red-raw tragedy.
Desde luego, la temible Michiko Kakutani no ha demorado -lo hizo dos días antes que Lethem en NYT- en meterle el diente a esta enormísima novedad, la más resaltante de la temporada libresca 2009 en EE.UU (con perdón del siempre oculto y finalmente discreto Thomas Pynchon) y que será publicada por Seix Barral a mediados de Octubre de este año para el ámbito español. La Kakutani ha dicho sobre la novela de Moore:
Ms. Moore has written her most powerful book yet, a book that gives us an indelible portrait of a young woman coming of age in the Midwest in the year after 9/11 and her initiation into the adult world of loss and grief. It is a novel that illustrates just how far Ms. Moore has come in the last two and half decades from her keenly observed but jokey 1985 collection of stories, “Self-Help,” which showcased her gifts as a writer but also underscored her — and her characters’ — emotional reticence, their reluctance to open themselves to deeply felt experiences.
Para luego agregar más elogios a la manera Kakutani, es decir, citando el error y convirtiéndolo luego en curioso piropo:
Although the characters in “A Gate at the Stairs” also have an annoying tendency to play coy little word games and make lame little jokes — it’s a kind of nervous tic that enables them to detach themselves from threatening situations — Ms. Moore grapples in these pages with the precariousness of life and the irretrievable losses that accumulate over the years. (...) If Ms. Moore, who started out as a short-story writer, demonstrates some difficulty here in steering the big plot machinery of a novel, she is able to compensate for this by thoroughly immersing the reader in her characters’ daily existences. With affection and a keen sense of the absurd, she gives us bright, digital snapshots of flyover country where nearly every small town has a local Dairy Queen, where customers wait in lines, even in winter, and where the “whimsy and fuss” of homeowners’ Christmas decorations — “penguins, palm trees, geese and candy canes all lighted up as if they were long-lost friends at a gathering” — provide a seasonal diversion for neighbors. She gives us an indelible portrait of Tassie’s family farm, where her mother has set up mirrors behind the flowerbeds to multiply the foxgloves and nightshade and phlox, and where her father has her don a hawk costume and run in front of his thresher to scare wildlife from its hiding places. (“Nobody wanted sliced mice in their salads,” she wryly observes, “at least not this decade.”) And most memorably, in this haunting novel Ms. Moore gives us stark, melancholy glimpses into her characters’ hearts, mapping their fears and disappointments, their hidden yearnings and their more evanescent efforts to hold on to their dreams in the face of unfurling misfortune.