Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SOMEWHERE TOWARDS THE END (2008) by Diana Athill

Winner of the 2008 Costa Biography Award, this series of personal essays by UK literary giant Diana Athill is at once witty, contemplative and unflinchingly honest about love and aging.

Athill worked as an editor of high profile writers including Mordecai Richler, Margaret Atwood and V.S. Naipal until she retired at 75. Since then she has turned to her own writing and produced several memoirs including this most recent one and she's now 91! Her voice belies her age and you will feel yourself one of her intimates in reading this frank account.

In one of my favourite passages where Athill contemplates what her own death might look like, she recalls with envy the death of one of her cousins, who "flop! fell off his horse stone dead in the middle of a laugh" at the age of eighty-two.

I barreled through this book in sheer delight, but will be returning to it to read it slowly, savouring every well-placed word.

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