Synopses & Reviews
Almost 10 years after the publication of Athill’s memoir Somewhere Towards the End she bestows upon readers another gift of her elegant glimpses back at many of her life’s most memorable moments. In beguiling evocative prose she details her nostalgia for growing up on her grandmother’s farm; her harrowing ambivalent feelings around unexpectedly becoming pregnant in her 40s and living through a miscarriage; and her decision to move into a retirement home where she discovers that “nothing is more valuable than being free to do whatever you are capable of doing.” After her miscarriage she’s relieved that she won’t have to tell her mother about the pregnancy and also that she is alive—she realizes that she loved being alive so much that “not having died was much more important to me by far than losing the child.” Looking back on her life Athill declares that she is happy sharing the two valuable lessons she’s learned: steer clear of romanticism and abhor possessiveness. Athill has a charming and captivating way with a story and a graceful plainspoken manner of revealing the humor gravity and momentary beauty of a life fully lived. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
This book is a collection of essays and remembrances spanningnonagenarian Athill's life. A great myriad of topics are covered, such as life in England during the war years, becoming a mother,important books, and memories of gardens, lovers, and friends. Essay titles include, This Bit Ought Not to be True, The Decision, A Lifeof Luxuries, Beloved Books, and Dead Right. This is the first American edition.Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
What will you remember if you live to be 100?
Diana Athill charmed readers with her prize-winning memoir Somewhere Towards the End, which transformed her into an unexpected literary star. Now, on the eve of her ninety-eighth birthday, Athill has written a sequel every bit as unsentimental, candid, and beguiling as her most beloved work.
Writing from her cozy room in Highgate, London, Diana begins to reflect on the things that matter after a lifetime of remarkable experiences, and the memories that have risen to the surface and sustain her in her very old age.
My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness, she writes. In warm, engaging prose she describes the bucolic pleasures of her grandmother s garden and the wonders of traveling as a young woman in Europe after the end of the Second World War. As her vivid, textured memories range across the decades, she relates with unflinching candor her harrowing experience as an expectant mother in her forties and crafts unforgettable portraits of friends, writers, and lovers.
A pure joy to read, Alive, Alive Oh sparkles with wise and often very funny reflections on the condition of being old. Athill reminds us of the joy and richness of every stage of life and what it means to live life fully, without regrets.