Diana Athill's Stet is "a beautifully written, hardheaded, and generally insightful look back at the heyday of postwar London publishing by a woman who was at its center for nearly half a century" (The Washington Times). A founding editor of the prestigious publishing house Andre Deutsch, Ltd., Athill takes us on a guided tour through the ...
Diana Athill's Stet is "a beautifully written, hardheaded, and generally insightful look back at the heyday of postwar London publishing by a woman who was at its center for nearly half a century" (The Washington Times). A founding editor of the prestigious publishing house Andre Deutsch, Ltd., Athill takes us on a guided tour through the corridors of literary London, offering a keenly observed, devilishly funny, and always compassionate portrait of the glories and pitfalls of making books. Stet is a must-read for the literarily curious, who will revel in Athill's portraits of such great literary figures as Jean Rhys, V. S. Naipaul, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, Mordecai Richler, and others. Spiced with candid observations about the type of people who make brilliant writers and ingenious publishers (and the idiosyncrasies of both), Stet is an invaluable contribution to the literature of literature, and in the words of the Sunday Telegraph, "all would-be authors and editors should have a copy." "Wryly humorous ... notable for its extraordinary lucidity...." -- The New York Times Book Review "A beguiling tonic to book business sob stories... Stet can barely contain Athill's charm and great big heart." -- Newsday "In addition to telling a good story, Athill writes profoundly about how she is affected by the books she loves." -- The Boston Globe
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Publishers Weekly, 2000-12-18 For nearly 50 years, Athill edited some of the best minds of the postwar generation, including Molly Keane, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Brian Moore, V.S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Mordecai Richler, Philip Roth, Gitta Sereny and John Updike. A founding director of the now-defunct London publishing house Andre Deutsch Ltd., Athill "intervened" with legendary taste and self-restraint, earning her the loyalty, and sometimes the friendship, of her frequently tetchy, fragile authors ("Writers don't encounter really attentive readers as often as you might expect, and find them balm to their twitchy nerves when they do; which gives their editors a good start with them"). Athill, now an exuberant 83, looks back on her half-century in the business, beginning with her wartime fling with Hungarian ex-pat Andre Deutsch. The affair was brief, but the relationship flourished, as the two founded first Allan Wingate (which "pounced" to publish The Naked and the Dead) and then, in 1952, the house that bore both Deutsch's name and the stamp of his ego. Dealing with his temper and self-indulgence prepared Athill for playing "nanny" to a series of difficult writers, chief among them the "ugly drunk" Rhys; Morris Chester, an all-but-forgotten surrealist novelist plagued by "voices"; and Naipaul, whom Athill categorizes as the petulant and depressive. Cheerfully self-effacing as editor and friend, Athill offers few details of her personal life. But on the subject of her workplace and the "Interesting People" she met there, she is unfailingly candid, generous, witty and astute, an eyewitness with a famously discerning eye. Agent, Angela Rose, Granta Books, London. (Mar.) Forecast: Publishing insiders and the literarily curious will find Athill's portraits of leading contemporary authors irresistible. That won't translate into major sales, but it does offer an opportunity to enterprising booksellers, who may find happy results if they display this title along with Jason Epstein's forthcoming Book Business. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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