Published: 6 October 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 224 pages
Instead Of A Letter
Diana Athill's childhood was idyllic, brought up in the Norfolk countryside. Aged only fifteen, she fell in love with a young undergraduate. They travelled to Oxford, engaged to be married. Then everything fell apart in the cruellest possible way.
In this classic modern memoir, Diana Athill dissects the terrible consequences of loss and her struggle to rebuild a personality destroyed by sadness. Yet for all its unhappiness, Instead of a Letter remains a story of hope, written with the frank intelligence and lack of self-pity that have become the hallmarks of Athill's writing.
‘A model mix of clear-eyed analysis and deep, unashamed feeling’
‘Her first and still most perfect perfect book’ Carole Angier
‘I first came across Diana Athill when I was 17. I picked up her memoir, Instead of a Letter, attracted to its title. I was driven on by avid inexperience, sure that I could find out from Athill what life itself was not yet ready to tell me about love, sex and - most impressively - heartbreak. I admired her elegant vigour and control of words in contrast to the freedom with which she wrote about herself. She became, in my reading life, a friend’ Kate Kellaway
‘One certainly admires both her and this truly excellent book, which is a masterpiece of confessional literature’
‘The documentary of one woman's ordinary and yet, in her telling, wholly extraordinary life’ Erica Wagner
‘The reader sees the transformation of the battered soul into a buoyant woman, open-minded and open-hearted’ Hilary Mantel
‘This classic memoir ... well deserves another airing’