Diana Athill made her reputation as a writer with the candour of her memoirs, now aged ninety, and freed from any inhibitions that even she may once have had, 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 ...Read MoreDiana Athill made her reputation as a writer with the candour of her memoirs, now aged ninety, and freed from any inhibitions that even she may once have had, 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 taught her to regret very little, to resist despondency and to question the beliefs and customs of her own generation.Read Less
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I'm telling all my friends to buy this book. I'm lending my copy to a few--those who don't want to face old age or have anything to do with 'dying'--yet are afraid to live life to the hilt. I've even told my son and daughter-in-law in their 40ies, to read it so that they will understand 'somewhat' what old age is like and live fearlessly. Anthill suggests that 76 might be the dividing line one crosses from middle age into old age. Well, I've made it but I believe that one's 80ies are the new 65 to 75 gang. She is remarkably honest with her sense of humor intact. I agree with so many of her views that I've underlinned and had conversations in the margins with more than half the book. A 'must' read at any age.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-09-22 When it comes to facing old age, writes Athill, "there are no lessons to be learnt, no discoveries to be made, no solutions to offer." As the acclaimed British memoirist (who wrote about her experiences as a book editor in Stet) pushes past 90, she realizes that "there is not much on record on falling away" and resolves to set down some of her observations. She is bluntly unconcerned with conventional wisdom, unapologetically recounting her extended role as "the Other Woman" in her companion's prior marriage--then explaining how he didn't move in with her until after they'd stopped having sex, which is why it was no big deal for her to invite his next mistress to move in with them to save expenses. She is equally frank in discussing how, as their life turns "sad and boring," she copes with his declining health, just as she cared for her mother in her final years. Firmly resolute that no afterlife awaits her, Athill finds just enough optimism in this world to keep her reflections from slipping into morbidity--she may not offer much comfort, but it's a bracing read. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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