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Ladder Of Years [Paperback]

Anne Tyler
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Feb 1996
On a beach holiday,forty-year-old Cordelia Grinstead, dressed only in swimsuit and beachrobe, walks away from her family and just keeps on walking...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (1 Feb 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099479419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099479413
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1941 and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Breathing Lessons and other bestselling novels, including The Accidental Tourist, Saint Maybe, Ladder of Years, A Patchwork Planet, Back When We Were Grownups, The Amateur Marriage and Digging to America. In 1994 she was nominated by Roddy Doyle and Nick Hornby as 'the greatest novelist writing in English'. Anne Tyler lives in Baltimore where her novels are set.

Product Description


"Her best book yet" (Roddy Doyle)

"Every scene breathes with intimacy. Lifelikeness almost lifts the characters off the page. Ladder of Years ruefully contemplates the unhaltable passage of time. But, scintillating with joie de vivre, it also offers an intensely appealing way of passing it" (Sunday Times)

"Anne Tyler's novels have three qualities that make them special: they are funny, they are sad, they are intelligent" (Nick Hornby)

"Dialogue top-rate, people alive to their fingertips, places as real as next door - you don't get a finer comedy of manners than this" (Mail on Sunday)

Book Description

Have you ever wanted to walk right out of your life?

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
This book starts off with every woman's secret fear - that in amongst all her duties and tasks and routines that she has become invisible. This is borne out by the "Every woman" missing person's description of her. The journey is an interesting one - perhaps the ending is a little neater than life. But many of us dont in the end want to throw it all away - but re-establish ourselves in our current lives. So if you have kids and are married there are moments of smiles, joy, empathy and quiet bravery in this book. It was my first read by this author and it got me hooked on her....
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new life, or is it? 3 Jun 2011
Delia, short for Cordelia, is the central character of Anne Tyler's Ladder Of Years. As usual for Anne Tyler, Delia is a Baltimore resident, a wife, a mother and probably, at least from the outside, a pillar of strength and dependability in both family and community. The children are growing up. Which children don't? Bet then it's how they grow up that matters, isn't it? Sam, the husband, is doing moderately well. Moderate seems to be the word, as far as Sam is concerned. He's hardly made a success of the business he inherited from Delia's father, but the family survives to inhabit a middle class, rather liberal niche in the common psyche. As Ladder Of Years opens, the family is holidaying by the sea and Delia is dressed, mentally, for the beach.

And then, without warning, even to herself, she takes off. Just like that, whatever "that" might be. She absconds. Goes missing. Disappears. There's suspicion of drowning. A report appears in a Baltimore paper. The family fears she has come to harm. But no, she hasn't. In fact, still dressed for the beach she is heading off to a place she doesn't know with a stranger. It's no particular stranger, just a stranger.

Quite soon, and with new clothes, a new address and a changed life, Delia takes on a new identity. Though Baltimore wife and mother still lives in her head, she's become a new Delia, single, independent and employed. In this new guise, she inter-reacts with her new community and gradually becomes part of it. Why did she leave the apparent safety, security and responsibility of her family? Not even she can answer.

What slowly begins to emerge, however, is that Delia's choice of opting out becomes increasingly one of opting in. By degree the characters in her new life start to become more demanding.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ladder of years - 1st book from Anne Tyler 31 May 2011
I have to say after watching my mum reading Anne Tyler for many years I asked to borrow one of her books - she handed me Ladder of years and said see how I get on with it! I couldn't put it down!!
The first page where it gives a police description tells you all you need to know about why Cordelia Grimstead goes "missing" - the way the story is told you can actually picture the faces and places!! Not the ending I had been hoping for but it kept you guessing until the end.
A seriously great book which has inspired me to buy my own collection!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
I love Anne Tyler books and I've read Ladder of Years before. I bought the Kindle edition thinking I'd like to revisit an old friend. The only problem being that the typographical errors are HORRENDOUS to the point of my very seriously asking Amazon for a refund. It's really ridiculous. Throughout the book there are places where the word I (as in 'I like ice cream') is substituted by the letter 'J'. (such as 'J like ice cream') I spent I don't know how long trying to figure out who 'J' was. There are lots of other typographical errors that I wish I had highlighted to prove my point to Amazon that what they have sold me is NOT the same as the book in print. So hats off to Anne Tyler as the book is great but the Kindle version is a BIG disappointment.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Neither up nor down... 29 April 2008
Anne Tyler has a special skill - the ability to weave words to magically create characters whose breath you can all but feel off the page. This book, the third of hers I've read, is no exception.
I admit I had a little difficulty understanding Delia at the start, but really got under her skin when she left her family to carve a new life for herself. Her world seemed to suddenly be filled with colour, the small town full of life. I still didn't feel Delia was being necessarily true to herself however... I think maybe that is the woman we see in the opening sequence in the supermarket, full of excitement at the subterfuge she becomes embroiled in.
Now to the tricky part - the ending. Much as I admire Tyler, I can't help feeling she wimped out here. I just didn't find it particularly credible, hence the three star review. Interesting to note this was written more than 25 years ago - the Tyler of her later novels has much more confidence.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ever Want to Walk Away??? 29 Jan 2001
By A Customer
Delia does what we all wish we could do at some point in our lives. She walks out on her life. Not because it's terrible or too hard, but because you feel like it. Who knows what the reason is? You need a change. You want to see what else is out there. The question of why will eat away at your mind while reading this novel and you'll never find a suitable answer. What Anne Tyler does in this novel is build a fictional story within a story. This woman creates a little world within her own world in which she feels space to breathe. A small apartment with a local library: what a perfect little escape. Every small action she performs within this world has something tremendously sacred attached to it because it belongs wholly to her. It is a chance for her to find out who she is again. After so many years of living in the role of a mother and having that image dominate the way in which people look at her, she is able to stand in the mirror and see herself as an independent woman. We should all be allowed small opportunities of selfishness from time to time. Delia is simply making up for lost time with the time she takes away from her family. You might think that it is inevitable she would return to her old life, but it isn't. It is her decision if she wants to go back or not and it is a hard one. This is the thrilling thing about this novel and it is why it is one of my favorite. Along with Delia, you are in completely unfamiliar territory where you feel the central character is empowered to direct her own destiny rather than the author or any of the other characters in the novel. You discover that we all have the choice to plunge into a well of potential and remerge as someone completely new. Each person is first and always in charge of whom he or she wants to be and if he or she needs to take dramatic measures to reclaim his or her identity than he or she should.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
so not her best book ,
Published 15 days ago by Adele Carlyle
4.0 out of 5 stars great for a rainy day
Will read this book again as I think I could get more out of it a second time! Made me think!
Published 17 days ago by mrs linda thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly recommend this book
Thoroughly recommend this book. Beautifully written and extremely evocative of time and place - America 60s/70s? Read more
Published 24 days ago by evelyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Never read an Anne Tyler that I wouldn't recommend.
Published 1 month ago by Mr. B. R. Burge
5.0 out of 5 stars Ladder of Years
This is a brilliant book that all middle aged people should read, full of interesting characters and family dynamics. She writes so well about people and how they are perceived.
Published 4 months ago by l j stewart
4.0 out of 5 stars Ladder of years by Anne Tyler
I bought this as it was a personal recommendation by someone being interviewed on TV - it's nice to see what others are enjoying and it widens one's own repertoire. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Welsh Grandma
4.0 out of 5 stars Even better the second time around.
I read this book years ago and came back to it recently, going through an Anne Tyler revival. I suppose I am at the stage of life now, that Delia was at when she walked away, so... Read more
Published 6 months ago by CC
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning reading.
Ann Tyler fans won't be disappointed. A wonderful read. Super interesting with great observations. I can't put this one down.
Published 7 months ago by Tilly
5.0 out of 5 stars A Favourite Anne Tyler book
This is now one of my favourite Anne Tyler books. Delia Grinstead is on holiday with her family. She walks off the beach and just keeps walking. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lisa @ One Club
5.0 out of 5 stars Tyler at her best
Anne Tyler is one of my favourite authors. She has a way of getting under her protagonists' skins like no one else I know. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bethany Askew
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