An esteemed memoirist examines aging with the grace of Elegy for Iris and the wry irreverence of I Feel Bad About My Neck.
Diana Athill is one of the great editors in British publishing. For more than five decades she edited the likes of V. S. Naipaul and Jean Rhys, for whom she was a confidante and caretaker. As a writer, Diana Athill has made her reputation for the frankness and precisely expressed wisdom of her memoirs. Now in her ninety-first year, "entirely untamed about both old and new conventions" (Literary Review) and freed from any of the inhibitions that even she may have once had, Athill reflects candidly, and sometimes with great humor, on the condition of being oldthe losses and occasionally the gains that age brings, the wisdom and fortitude required to face death. Distinguished by "remarkable intelligence...[and the] easy elegance of her prose" (Daily Telegraph), this short, well-crafted book, hailed as "a virtuoso exercise" (Sunday Telegraph) presents an inspiring work for those hoping to flourish in their later years
About the deaths of my paternal grandparents, my father's siblings and my mother's father I know little, but nothing was ever said to suggest that they were particularly harrowing, while on my mother's side one sister had a stroke when she was eighty-three from which she died almost at once without recovering consciousness; another aged ninety-four was distressed for less than an hour, then died in a daughter's arms just after saying that she was now feeling much better; another went quietly after becoming increasingly weak and dozy for about three weeks; and their brother, a lucky man whose luck held to the very end, was on his horse at a meet of the Norwich Stag-hounds at the age of eighty-two, talking with friends, when flop! and he fell off his horse stone dead in the middle of a laugh. The eldest of my cousins had similar luck, falling down dead as she was making a cup of tea.
My brother, who died last year, was less lucky, but not because he was painfully ill for a long time, ...
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