What is it like to be old? Diana Athill, born in 1917, made her reputation as a writer with the candour of her memoirs. In Somewhere Towards the End she reflects frankly on the losses and occasionally the gains that old age brings, and on the wisdom and fortitude required to face death. This is a lively narrative of events, lovers and friendships: the people and experiences that have taight her to regret very little, to resist despondency and to question the beliefs and customs of her own generation.
"Not just for the aging"
For nearly five decades Diana Athill edited (nursed, coerced, coaxed) some of the most celebrated writers in the English language - among them V. S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, Mordecai Richler, and Norman Mailer. A founding editor of the prestigious publishing house Andr Deutsch Ltd., Athill takes us on a guided tour through the corridors of literary London, offering a keenly observed, devilishly funny, and always compassionate insider's portrait of the glories and pitfalls of making books.
"An inside look at publishing"
This epistolary memoir - rich with Diana Athill's characteristic wit, humor, elegance, and honesty - describes a warm, decades-long friendship.
Diana Athill is one of our great women of letters. The renowned editor of V. S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, and many others, she is also a celebrated memoirist whose Somewhere Towards the End was a best seller and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner.
Several years ago, Diana Athill accepted that she could no longer live entirely independently and moved to a retirement home in Highgate. There, she found herself released from the daily anxieties of caring for her own property and free to settle in to her remaining years. From this vantage point, she reflects on what it feels like to be very old and on the moments in her long life that have risen to the surface and which sustain her in these last years. What really matters in the end?
This new selection of Diana Athill’s stories, Midsummer Night in the Workhouse, provides a subtle counterpoint to her memoirs because the focus of the stories is autobiographical: although not in the first person, they are about facets of a life which Diana knew through and through, either because she was, as she has said, writing about herself (the story about her first kiss or the one about an Oxford undergraduate and her boyfriend)