Somewhere Towards The End

Diana Athill

Published: 4 December 2008
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 192 pages
ISBN: 9781847080691

The Costa Biography award winning memoir on the pleasures and pains of old age.


What is it like to be old? Diana Athill made her reputation as a writer with the candour of her memoirs - her commitment, in her words, 'to understand, to be aware, to touch the truth'. Now in her nineties, and freed from any inhibitions that even she may once have had, she reflects frankly on the losses and occasionally the gains that old age brings, and on the wisdom and fortitude required to face death. This is a lively narrative of events, lovers and friendships: the people and experiences that have taught her to regret very little, to resist despondency and to question the beliefs and customs of her own generation.

About the author

Image of Diana Athill

Diana Athill was born in 1917. She helped André 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 several further volumes of memoirs, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, Somewhere Towards the End, and Alive, Alive Oh!, the travelogue A Florence Diary, 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. More about the author


‘[She has] a cold eye for reality and no time for sentimental lies’ Jenny Diski



‘Exhilarating and comforting, so much good sense, candour and liveliness of spirit in such clean, clear prose’ Simon Gray

‘Her brilliant book is entirely lacking in the usual regrets, nostalgia and Hovis-ad recollections of old-timers. It is a little literary gem, penned by a marvellous, feisty old character ... What a treasure’

‘Part exposé, part treatise on old age, the book is a ruminative read’

‘The book is a moving and humorous account of old age, unsparing about its indignities, unflinching from the inevitability that the end can not be many years away, but full of joy at the way life keeps on, at the most unexpected moments, renewing itself’

‘What sets her apart is the flagrancy and wit of her writing ... her memoirs display a vivacious appreciation of the life she has lived and what is still to come’

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