Anyone who has not yet read Diana Athill's scaled-down take on living, loving and dying has a treat in store. This particular book is about her professional career -- one that she stumbled into, and, as often happens with good people, it worked brilliantly for her. You get a chance to follow her career and the publishing house (André Deutsch) she worked for as they begin and end. She is a master of the best kind of gossip: she spills secrets and can show dislike but always looks for redeeming features in the gossipees. The most celebrated part of this book is the chapter on VS Naipul. Worth the admission price alone. After reading this, you will have an even greater enjoyment waiting: the author's unsurpassed look at approaching death: Somewhere Near the End. Both are among the best books I have read. Diana Athill is a biographer of huge value for her honesty, insight and humility.