Somewhere Towards The End by Diana Athill (Y)
Diana Athill will be ninety in December, 2007. "Somewhere Towards the End" tells the story of what it means to be old: how the pleasure of sex ebbs, how the joy of gardening grows, how much there is to remember, to forget, to regret, to forgive - and how one faces the inevitable fact of death. Athill has lost none of her skill or candour as a writer, her love of the intimate detail. Her book is filled with stories, events and people, and the kind of honest, intelligent reflection that has been a hallmark of her writing throughout her long career. 'We rarely did anything together except make ourselves a pleasant little supper and go to bed, because we had very little in common apart from liking sex,' she writes of her last affair, when she was in her late sixties. 'We also shared painful feet, which was almost as important as liking sex, because when you start feeling your age it is comforting to be with someone in the same condition.'Diana's previous books are: "Instead of a Letter", "After a Funeral", and "Stet", her much praised memoir of her life as a book editor (many said the best in London) with Andre Deutsch. She describes her books as 'documentaries' and her early work prefigured the modern taste for memoir. As she writes in "Somewhere Towards the End", 'I believed, and still believe, that there is no point describing experience unless one tries to get it as near to what it really was as you can make it, but that belief does come into conflict with a central teaching of my upbringing: do not think yourself important.'