Ann Tyler's Ladder of Years was a recent Book Club read.. Billed on the cover of my edition (bought new) was "her best book yet", Since this title was published in1996 and she has written several more books, all well -received by critics, this comment is merely publishers hype. It was a good read, though, and a good introduction to Ann Tyler for me, as I've yet to read more of her work. The story is centred on Delia, youngest of thee daughters of a Baltimore doctor. She starts a relationship with Adrian Bly-Brice, despite having been married to her father's successor for many years, and later, while on the annual family holiday at the seaside, Delia starts walking along the beach and just carries on, leaving children and husband behind. After being given a lift by a young man in a borrowed vehicle, Delia ends up in a small town, where she finds herself a room and a job, and begins to do things she has never done alone before, such as eating a proper meal in a proper restaurant.
Delia is having difficulty with her children, who are growing up and leaving home, a stage of life which she had never actually gone through, as her husband took over the family home as well as the doctor's practise, and her father remained in the house until his fairly recent death, as has one of her sisters. Delia's emotional difficulties were a rich source of our discussion of this book, and caused many to think about exactly how independent we were as modern women. I look forward to reading many other titles by Ann Tyler.