- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (1 February 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099479419
- ISBN-13: 978-0804114929
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #64,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ladder Of Years Paperback – 1 Feb 1996
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"It is difficult to imagine a writer so prodigiously gifted" (Herald)
"Another winner from Anne Tyler" (Independent)
"Every scene breathes with intimacy. Lifelikeness almost lifts the characters off the page…scintillating with joie de vivre" (Sunday Times)
"Utterly compelling…wonderfully satisfying...virtually flawless" (Chicago Tribune)
"Anne Tyler is a writer of immaculate delicacy" (Observer)
About the Author
Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her bestselling novels include Breathing Lessons, The Accidental Tourist, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Ladder of Years, Back When We Were Grownups, A Patchwork Planet, The Amateur Marriage, Digging to America, A Spool of Blue Thread and Vinegar Girl.
In 1989 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons; in 1994 she was nominated by Roddy Doyle and Nick Hornby as 'the greatest novelist writing in English'; in 2012 she received the Sunday Times Award for Literary Excellence; and in 2015 A Spool of Blue Thread was a Sunday Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and the Man Booker Prize.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Delia Grinstead had never left home, marrying a doctor who her father had brought into a home-based practice at age seventeen. Now at age forty her life suffered from terminal blandness. Her teen-aged children ignored her, even treating her with disdain, and her husband, an unaffectionate sort, took her for granted. A chance encounter with a younger man in a supermarket sparked a self-assessment that led to Delia simply walking away from her family on an annual outing to the beach with nothing more than a bathing suit, a robe, and a few hundred dollars.
Hitching a ride to a remote town in her home state, Delia begins to slowly eke out a new existence. The quiet resolve and good nature of Delia is a constant. Her whereabouts are discovered soon after her disappearance, which forces her to reflect on her former existence as she is contacted in one manner or another by several of her family members. Interestingly, Delia becomes more than a little attached to a new family as a housekeeper/nanny to an educator and his twelve-year-old son.
A return home for her daughter's wedding unexpectedly presents Delia with decisions concerning her new and previous lives. Readers looking for a dramatic transformation in either Delia or her social situation could be disappointed. However, it is evident that Delia has learned from her journey and decides to move on accordingly.
But Tyler doesn't stop there. We are slowly and cleverly getting to know Delia. She is NOT a cold-hearted, closed-off person. Even though she has a new way of dressing, a new job, and a new residence, she still cries herself to sleep every night. It's clear she is desperate for her family to reach out to her and tell her that they need her, but that message is not forthcoming. Delia copes the only way she knows how by getting up everyday and following the routine she has established for herself. Inevitably, Delia meets and forms relationships in the little town where she settles. She even tires of her first job and searches for another. Just as her life may take an irreversible turn, she is summoned back home for the wedding of her daughter. Tyler's portrayal of events when Delia returns home is nothing short of brilliant.
Some feel the ending is lacking in answers. I thought so, too, at first glance but on second thought (and this is the kind of book you have lots of second thoughts about), the ending is perfectly fitting and the answers have been revealed along the way.
Anne Tyler is still brilliant when writing about the mundane things of every day life.