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Ladder of Years

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I often find myself empathising with characters in novels, but it is rare that I can so completely identify with one in the same way as I did with Delia Grinstead in Anne Tyler's Ladder Of Years. Having pulled a similar stunt myself, albeit as a teenager, I was amazed at Tyler's apparently uncanny knowledge of how I felt at the time. " How do I get out of this then?" I suppose it must not be such an unusual experience after all. Delia's reinvention of herself from Dee - fragile put-upon and overlooked wife, mother and daughter - to Miss Grinstead - efficient secretary and woman in her own right - is such a sensitively drawn transformation that I was hooked on every word of her tale. I loved both her emotional journey and also the detailed description of her actual journey from Baltimore to Bay Borough, the ideal anonymous small town on arrival and, of course, soon discovered to be anything but. In "Ladder of Years," Ms. Tyler's 13th novel, the story that appears to unfold of its own accord is a fairy tale of sorts, a fairy tale with echoes of both the tragedy of "King Lear" and the absurdity of the modern romance novel. Delia is herself unprepared for change, yet it waits for her around every corner. Her response is to turn and simply walk away. On her yearly holiday at the beach with her husband and children, her sister Eliza (a committed aromatherapist in a pith helmet)

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Eliza insists that Delia has memories of their mother and Delia is incensed that Sam does not remember their very first meeting. Discuss the conflict that arises in this novel over the individualistic and idiosyncratic nature of family history and memory. There were 3 times in the book I wanted to scribble in the margins: WTF?! I read and reread passages, and could not follow the reasoning -- rational and/or emotional.

AT: So routinized that it’s practically a ritual. I work in the morning, after some preliminary puttering that seems essential to the process. I write even if I’m not in the mood. (Sometimes my best work comes when I’m not in the mood.) And I make a point of quitting before midafternoon, when I go brain-dead. AT: I was looking for a profession with some power, since Delia’s sheltered life–from father’s hands to husband’s, with no break–seemed to require that.

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler | Goodreads

Cordelia, da tutti chiamata più brevemente Delia, ha quarant’anni, un marito di quindici più grande di lei malato di cuore, e tre figli diventati tre persone sgraziate, maleducate e sprezzanti. Q: Your novels are filled with fascinating characters. Have you ever been tempted to change your protagonist in the midst of the writing process?But when that family sees you only as an unpaid housekeeper and constantly belittle you and scorn your suggestions and opinions, you either bonelessly disappear into your marginal role in their life, or you strike out and make a better life for yourself. Delia (short for Cordelia) is the youngest of three sisters. At 40, she has long been married to a kindly doctor who still makes house calls. They live in the large old Baltimore house in which she grew up. Delia's father was also a doctor. When

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