Ladder of Years

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Waterstones Fiction Book of the Month for August 2018 Mrs Grinstead was last seen around noon this past Monday, walking south along the stretch of sand between Bethany and Sea Colony 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. For Delia’s life has slowly been shifting under her feet, her children grown and changed and her dependable, doctor husband suddenly obsessed with household renovation, leaving even the stable surroundings of her home unrecognisable. So she decides to begin again. 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? A modern fairy-tale – with subtle echoes of romance novels and the tragedy of King Lear – rich in the comedy of everyday matters, Ladder of Years is one of Anne Tyler’s most playful and understatedly brilliant novels. Balancing the mundane and the unexpected, Tyler pulls readers in with her expert skill for understanding the nuances of ordinary existence, capturing life’s endless capacity for change. For readers new to Tyler’s work, this is a perfect place to start. As the New York Times writes, ‘so rigorous and artful is the style without a style, so measured and delicate is each observation, so complex is the structure and so astute and open the language, that the reader can relax, feel secure in the narrative and experience the work as something real’.