Yesterday Morning

A Very English Childhood

Diana Athill

Published: 6 October 2011
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 176 pages
ISBN: 9781847084262


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?

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


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.’ Kate Kellaway



‘A compulsively readable memoir of a golden age’

‘A joy to read from start to finish’

‘Athill has added importantly to those works of literature which illuminate the vagaries of human emotion.’

‘Athill's astringent prose has the remarkable quality of making one look forward to old age’

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

‘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’

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