Ladder of Years, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


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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Review by

Delia Grinstead has become part of the furniture in her own life to the extent that her family can't provide a detailed physical description of her whilst reporting her disappearance to the police. After a lifetime of dependence and dull routine, she walks out in favour of a life of independence....and dull routine. I must confess I kept waiting for Delia to do something more exciting with her new-found freedom.An intriguing premise, and one I think a writer of Anne Tyler's calibre could have done more with.

Review by

I haven't read an awful lot of Anne Tyler which is surprising as I really enjoyed The Accidental Tourist which I read years ago. I picked this up under the impression that it was a new book, which confused me rather when I started reading it as the main character just didn't seem believable for a contemporary novel. Then I noticed that it was first published in 1982 and it made a lot more sense.Delia Grinstead is the wife of a family doctor and mother to two teenage boys and a girl. Married at 18 to her father's assistant, she has always lived in the same house in the same town. Increasingly, her family don't seem to need her or even to particularly notice that she's around. When she realises that her husband had thought about marrying one of her father's three daughters before he had even met them, so that he would inherit the practice, she becomes disillusioned with her life. Initially beginning a (very chaste) affair with a man she meets in the supermarket, she eventually walks away from her family on a beach holiday and does not return. And it's symptomatic of her place in the family that no one is sure about her height, or her eye colour, or what she was wearing.Anne Tyler paints the day- to- day realities of family life very well in this novel, and it's reminded me that I need to read more by her.