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Yesterday Morning [Paperback]

Diana Athill
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

6 Oct 2011
A remarkable, truthful and vivid recollection of childhood, from the author of Stet, After a Funeral, Don't Look at Me Like That and Instead of a Letter. Here Athill goes back to the beginning in a sharp evocation of a childhood unfashionably filled with happiness - a Norfolk country house, servants, the pleasures of horses, the unfolding secrets of adults and sex. This is England in the 1920s seen (with a clear and unsentimental eye) from the vantage point of England in 2001. It was a privileged and loving life: but did it equip the author to be happy?

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Yesterday Morning + Stet + Life Class: The Selected Memoirs of Diana Athill
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; Reprint edition (6 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847084265
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847084262
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diana Athill was born in 1917. She worked for the BBC throughout the Second World War and then helped Andre Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name. She is the author of five volumes of memoirs - Stet, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe - and a novel, Don't Look at Me Like That. A selection of her memoirs appear in Life Class published in November 2009. She lives in London.

Product Description


A joy to read from start to finish - "Sunday Independent" Athill's astringent prose has the remarkable quality of making one look forward to old age - "Evening Standard""Yesterday Morning" is a captivating book. It is as if she had set out with a butterfly net to catch everything about her early life in an upper-middle-class English family before it - or she - vanished: the beloved grand house in Norfolk, the servants, her unhappily married parents. - "Guardian" Athill's honesty in describing her feelings as a young girl and old woman makes her memoir universal. - "The Independent" Athill's writing is like a really good apple: crisp, juicy, at once sweet and tart. She describes youthful games and discoveries in a voice that manages to combine delighted immediacy and ironic distance....The book feels at times like a grab bag, a collection of all the odds and ends Athill traces to her early years - "The New York Times Book Review" A compulsively readable memoir of a golden age - "The Times" Athill has added importantly to those works of literature which illuminate the vagaries of human emotion. - "Daily Telegraph"

From the Publisher

‘Yesterday Morning is a captivating book’ - The Observer

‘The writing is limpid, vigorous, often blissful’ - Evening Standard

‘Athill has always had a peculiar and attractive talent for communicating her pleasure in life’ - Telegraph

'A compulsively readable memoir of a golden age...'- The Times

'Athill’s honesty in describing her feelings as a young girl and an old woman makes her memoir universal.' - The Independent

‘Above all, her honesty shines through, giving a wondrous clarity to this warm yet sharp depiction of childhood.’ - The Sunday Times

‘Diana Athill [...] tells her tale with admirable dispassion, but she does bring a lump to the throat’ - Sunday Telegraph

‘With an unsentimental and candid intelligence that brings the world of England in the 1920s to vivid life’ - Publishing News

'Rather refreshingly, this is a fond recollection of a happy childhood as well as a detailed portrait of English life in the 1920s.’ - The Bookseller

‘This childhood memoir is remarkable for its truthfulness…Athill writes with such skill and wit…a vivid picture of a childhood in a distant world’ - Spectator

'...there is nothing false about the retrospection, and you believe every word she writes.' - Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upstairs & Downstairs - a child's perspective 8 April 2002
Enormously interesting story of life for a young girl in a pre war country house environment and its impact on her life.She felt immensely priviledged to have had such a happy childhood in a world long since vanished and her stories from a child's vantage point of the "upstairs & downstairs" world are not to be missed.To me it is the genuine article warts and all! Very well written and absorbing I read it thru at one sitting.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yesterday Morning - a very English childhood. 21 July 2009
By jan s
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I absolutely loved reading this book. It is beautifully written - literary, but not too erudite. It would appeal to those who enjoy social history, as well as auto-bios. As the author is in her eighties, her life spans an interesting historical period. It is an excellent "holiday" book" - I read it, whilst away, in a couple of days. I have now bought and read a later book, concerning her older life, by the same author which I enjoyed equally.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yesterday Morning 16 July 2010
By Kim K
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved reading this elegantly written account of the childhood of Diana Athill. She writes with great honesty and kindness and she made me laugh. I look forward to reading all her other books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fluently written and memorable 10 Jan 2012
By Gwgi
Format:Kindle Edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this glimpse into a childhood which, although the author had material wealth, there lurked sadness under the surface - her parents' marriage was not a success. The descriptions of day to day life at her grandparents' 20 bedroom mansion were fascinating. This is not a book that I would normally have bought - but I would highly recommend it for its fluent and confident style and glimpse of a world long since gone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 22 Mar 2012
By Pughie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to this so much after having read various reviews some time ago, but was hugely disappointed. It is well written, but the subject matter became mundane and boring at times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sharply observed 23 Jan 2012
By Bookie TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ms Athill's prose flows so easily, it's a joy to read. Her memory and account of events which took place more than 80 years ago are so lively and fresh. She makes them sound as if they happened yesterday.

Her memories are vivid and detailed giving the reader a priviliged view into a world long since disappeared. As social history her depictions of life, influences and events within her family and close circle are shrewdly accounted without affectation. She is honest, sharp and more than anything, amusing. She has such joie de vivre and sparkle. A truly fine book by a wonderful lady. I'm about to start on her two most recent works (Stet reviewed below covers her publishing years) to complete the circle of a most remarkable life. Thank you Ms Athill for sharing!
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