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Alive, Alive Oh!: And Other Things That Matter Hardcover – 19 Nov 2015
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'[Alive, Alive-Oh! And Other Things That Matter] contains [Athill's] often moving and always engaging reflections on what really matters as you face the final curtain...The sheer candour with which she writes and the overwhelming sense of a life fully lived are both quite marvellous' Editor's Choice, the Bookseller
'Astonishingly vital and fiercely intelligent... Athill seems always to be completely honest and without unnecessary sentiment' Kirkus Reviews (01/11/15)
'A book infused with joie de vivre. Athill...delights in the experiences she has had even those that weren t necessarily enjoyable at the time and the life she is very much still living' Lucy Scholes, Independent --Independent
'Full of life in the shadow of death' --Caroline Criado-Perez, Observer
'The former publisher writes with her usual clarity, frankness and unsentimentality' -- Book of the Week, Sunday Telegraph
'An undertow of failure to conform' -- Danuta Kean, the Independent on Sunday
'Life is once again a series of amusing anecdotes' -- Book of the Week, The Times
'In her late nineties [Diana Athill] tells us what she remembers of her life. It's about the past, certainly, but it's also about memory - a whole century dancing through one person's mind. Beautifully done and inspiring.' --William Leith, Evening Standard
'The remarkable story of her outwardly conventional life' -- Irish Mail on Sunday 'Alive, Alive Oh! is brief and abundant, earthly and spiritual' Daily Telegraph
'Full of clear, fresh air and bright distance' -- Book of the Week, Guardian
'Athill is a gifted chronicler of old age' -- Christena Appleyard, Literary Review
'A vivid sensual apprehension of physical pleasure that informs the best writing in this book' -- Evening Standard 'Long live long life, say I, if it produces books as brave as these' -- John Sutherland, New Statesman
'There are ... many treasures in this heterogeneous cabinet of curiosities' --Financial Times
'In her late nineties, [Diana Athill] tells us what she remembers of life. It's about the past, certainly, but it's also about memory - a whole century dancing through one person's mind. Beautifully done and inspiring.' -- William Leith, Evening Standard
'[With] sparkly, astute pieces [...] it's an essential read. Not momento mori; it's a celebration of life' -- Rebecca Foster, Nudge Books
'Athill shows an editor's trust in the value of precise language and a Jane Austen-like trust in the ability of abstractions to express and define thoughts and feelings' --Rebecca Reynolds, Everybody's Reviewing (blog)
About the Author
DIANA ATHILL was born in 1917. She helped Andre Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name and worked as an editor for Deutsch for four decades. Athill's distinguished career as an editor is the subject of her acclaimed memoir Stet, which is also published by Granta Books, as are five further volumes of memoirs, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, Somewhere Towards the End, a novel, Don't Look at Me Like That, and a collection of letters, Instead of a Book. In January 2009, she won the Costa Biography Award for Somewhere Towards the End, and was presented with an OBE. She lives in London.
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Her intellect is as sharp now as ever; always understated, often self deprecating, but invariably filled with insight and humour. If there was ever a way to pass gracefully towards old age, Diana Athill has it in spades. I admire her zest for life, her resilience and her acceptance. This is one of her shorter books and worth every penny. In a society increasingly inclined to dismiss and ignore anyone over a certain age(25?) it's a delight to see someone who defies any and all boundaries. Her latter books should be required reading for all, particularly for anyone inclined to associate age with irrelevance. She sparkles more with each year and needless to say, I enjoyed every word. Can't wait for the next one.
Althhough I myself am in my early 60s it is a very positive experience to read the words of a still mentally very active woman in her 90s who provides insights into what she considers to be some important aspects of her life, including a particularly harrowing tragedy with long tem/permanent consequences.
Despite the genteel lady peering out of the cover of this book, she has had some quite liberal experiences, which I found both surprising and welcome and undoubtedly made her more 'real'.
Someone I will be reading more of.
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