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


One warm summer's day at the beach, forty-year-old Cordelia Grinstead, dressed only in a swimsuit and beach robe, walks away from her family and just keeps on going.

After hitching a ride with a stranger to a new town where she knows no one, she reinvents herself as a single woman with no ties and begins living a new life altogether.

But how long can she keep this up before her real life finds her?OVER A MILLION ANNE TYLER BOOKS SOLD`She's changed my perception on life' Anna Chancellor `One of my favourite authors ' Liane Moriarty`She spins gold' Elizabeth Buchan `Anne Tyler has no peer' Anita Shreve`My favourite writer, and the best line-and-length novelist in the world' Nick Hornby `A masterly author' Sebastian Faulks `Tyler is not merely good, she is wickedly good' John Updike`I love Anne Tyler' Anita Brookner `Her fiction has strength of vision, originality, freshness, unconquerable humour' Eudora Welty


Other Formats



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

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.