Ladder of Years: A Novel
Ladder of Years: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
BALTIMORE WOMAN DISAPPEARS DURING FAMILY VACATION, declares the headline. Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead is last seen strolling down the Delaware shore, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit and carrying a beach tote with five hundred dollars tucked inside. To her husband and three almost-grown children, she has vanished without trace or reason. But for Delia, who feels like a tiny gnat buzzing around her family's edges, "walking away from it all" is not a premeditated act, but an impulse that will lead her into a new, exciting, and unimagined life . . . .
"TYLER DETAILS DELIA'S ADVENTURE WITH GREAT SKILL . . . As so often in her earlier fiction--Celestial Navigation, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, The Accidental Tourist, and her nine other novels--[she] creates distinct characters caught in poignantly funny situations. . . .Tyler writes with a clarity that makes the commonplace seem fresh and the pathetic touching."
--The New York Times
"UTTERLY COMPELLING. . .WONDERFULLY SATISFYING. . .Ladder of Years is virtually flawless."
"A 'PAGE-TURNER' IN THE BEST SENSE . . . One wants to lightly caress the pages of the story because one cares for Ms. Tyler's touchingly flawed characters. . . . Both madcap and genteel, Anne Tyler knows as well as anyone that 'human beings lead many lives.' Casually, delightfully, Ladder of Years will tell you just how we humans manage this trick."
--The Baltimore Sun
“Of course I came! How could I not?” “I was wondering about the procession,” Eleanor said smoothly. “Do they plan any kind of music? Susie has been admirably sensible about the arrangements, but how will we know when the bride walks in?” “Eleanor, I’m not even sure there’s going to be a bride,” Delia said. “She claims she’s reconsidered.” “Ah. Well, you’ll want to go see to her, then,” Eleanor said, unperturbed. “Run along; I can take care of myself, dear.” “Maybe I should go,” Delia said,
and claiming he needs to go out.” At the sound of his name, Butch sat down on his haunches and grinned up at her. Delia leaned over to give his muzzle a timid pat. His breath warmed and dampened her fingers. “I ran off with your groceries that day,” she said, ostensibly to the dog. “I felt terrible about it.” “Groceries?” Adrian asked. “Your orzo and your rotini …” She straightened and met his eyes. “I considered hunting up your address and bringing them over.” “Oh. Well … orzo? Well, never
poverty endured by the wayward girls and the staggering contrast of this meal—which, by the way, was merely pot roast sprinkled with onion-soup mix and an iceberg lettuce salad. “I asked this one poor child,” Eleanor said, “I asked, ‘Dear, could your people buy you a typewriter so you could work from your house after the baby arrives?’ And she said, ‘Miss, my family’s so poor they can’t even afford shampoo.’” A basket of rolls appeared before her. Eleanor gazed into it, looking puzzled, and
he said. “Lord, no. I wouldn’t be here myself if I hadn’t married a Murray. That’s Murray as in Murray Crab Spice. You think a two-bit, hole-in-the-wall photographer could afford these exorbitant prices?” “They’re going to raise the rates again in July, I hear,” Binky told him. Delia was looking around the room. The mention of photography had alerted her to the pictures hanging everywhere—large black-and-white photos, professionally framed. “Are these your work?” she asked him. “These? If
could do that anytime over the weekend. They cruised down Weber Street, passing Copp Catering where Belle had bought Thanksgiving dinner, and the Sub Tub, where all the Underwood students headed for snacks after school. In Ellie’s company, Delia felt that Bay Borough took on a different shading. It didn’t look as happy as it usually did. The women walking home with their grocery bags seemed unknowingly ironic, like those plastic-faced, smiling housewives in kitchen-appliance ads from the