Cover image for Ladder of years
Title:
Ladder of years
Author:
Tyler, Anne.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Knopf, 1995.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780679439417
Format :
Book

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Summary

Author Notes

Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 25, 1941. She graduated from Duke University at the age of 19 and completed graduate work in Russian studies at Columbia University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a librarian and bibliographer.

Her first novel, If Morning Ever Comes, was published in 1964. Her other works include Saint Maybe, Back When We Were Grownups, Digging to America, Noah's Compass, The Beginner's Goodbye, A Spool of Blue Thread, and Vinegar Girl. She has won several awards including the PEN Faulkner Award in 1983 for Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, the 1985 National Book Critics Circle Award for The Accidental Tourist, and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Breathing Lessons. The Accidental Tourist was adapted into a 1988 movie starring William Hurt and Geena Davis. In 2018 her title, Clock Dance, made the bestsellers list.

(Bowker Author Biography) Anne Tyler was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. "Back When We Were Grownups" is her 15th novel; her 11th, "Breathing Lessons", won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Letters. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

(Publisher Provided)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

/*STARRED REVIEW*/Delia Grinstead, the baby of the family, has lived all her 40 years in the same rambling Baltimore house. She doted on her father, a doctor, then married his serious assistant when she was only 17. A petite, freckled, self-effacing woman, Delia was the perfect mother and wife until her kids reached young adulthood, her husband started to seem like an old man, and she realized that she had become nearly invisible. So she leaves. She simply walks away and ends up in a small town where she creates a quiet new life for herself and discovers just exactly who she is. That's the bare-bones version of this charming, often hilarious, and astute novel. Tyler is in top form here. Her seemingly effortless prose is, like silk, rich in subtle hues and sheeny with dancing light. As Delia's quest for independence and respect unfolds, Tyler offers keen and provocative insights into the cycles of family life, shifting emotional needs, and the process of aging. She also presents us with the sort of quandary other personalities often evoke. We like and sympathize with Delia, but we'd also like to ring her little neck. She's so stoic, so slow, so sexually tentative. Then again, we admire her determination, her generosity, her self-containment, her ability to change and forgive. People are difficult, Tyler tells us, but many are worth the trouble. (Reviewed Mar. 15, 1995)0679441557Donna Seaman


Publisher's Weekly Review

At 40, Delia Grinstead seems more likely to have an attack of anxiety, or of whimsy, than to become a runaway wife. Yet, in Tyler's 13th beguiling novel, Delia's impulse to escape her disapproving physician husband and three surly children turns into an adventure that sweeps her from her staid Baltimore orbit into a new existence as Ms. Grinstead, spinster, in the Delaware community of Bay Borough. It's the unexamined life that's Delia's problem, and when she finally strips away layers of hurt, resentment, guilt and anger, she confronts her inner self and begins to deal with the chronic insecurity that has kept her childlike, flighty and dependent. Gradually, she becomes part of her new community, and has the courage to take a job caring for Noah Miller, an appealing 12-year-old whose mother has also run away from home and family. Over the course of a year, Delia discards her timorous personality and gains an understanding of the person she wants to be. One of the satisfactions of this novel is Tyler's evocation of typical family life. While in the past some of her characters have been too eccentric or fey, Delia and her family and friends all have both feet planted in the real world, even if their heads and hearts are sometimes elsewhere. Some readers may have difficulty accepting Delia's ability to absent herself from her children, but Tyler engages our sympathy and growing respect for a character who finally realizes that ``the ladder of years'' is a time trip to the future. BOMC main selection; major ad/promo; Random House Audio Book. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

Perhaps no one writing fiction today can so clearly evoke middle-age angst as Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Tyler. As in 12 earlier Tyler novels, this work peers intimately into a seemingly ordinary family life. The family here is the Grinsteads, more particularly restless 40-year-old wife and mom Celia Grinstead. Feeling unappreciated and unnoticed by her husband, a family doctor who took over Celia's father's practice, and increasingly unnecessary in the lives of her nearly grown children, Celia wanders off during a family beach vacation and starts a new life in a small town. She's sad and uncertain about her break with her previous life but oddly determined. Poignant, warm, and quirky, this novel will be on a lot of spring reading lists. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/95.]¬ĎAnn H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.