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Ladder Of Years Paperback – 1 Feb 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (1 Feb. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099479419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804114929
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,734 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

Review

"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

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By CJ I didnt get where I am today... on 20 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
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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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Philip Spires on 3 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By KA Arnold on 8 May 2011
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bizgen on 11 Dec. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
The first page was a police report of the disappearance of Cordelia Grinstead, last seen walking along a beach. The second page shows Delia in a supermarket, 'languidly choosing a bunch of celery...Why was it, she thought, that celery was not called "corderoy plant"? That would be much more colourful.' Then she makes the acquaintance of a man, who is choosing scallions.

The book unfolds in this measured way, and it is obvious we aren't going to get to the point of the opening newspaper article very quickly, only in the author's good time.

As Delia's life continues from this point, there is a sort of zany logic about it. We become Delia, a gentle woman living in a dreamworld, untouched by avarice. We feel for her and enjoy the gradual unfolding of a personality that, beginning the story as a naive and strangely innocent mother of teenagers, becomes a character with, at last, enough steel to decide what she really wants from life.

I was sorry when I came to the end, a most enjoyable few hours away from the stresses of modern living as most of us experience it these days. A strange feeling of peace surrounded me for a couple of days afterwards, surely a recommendation for others to at least pick it up and try it!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jodez mondez on 31 May 2011
Format: Paperback
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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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 29 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
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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