Somewhere Towards the End
I needn’t have worried. This is the most amazing book for anyone who is on the path towards old age to read. What an intelligent, original and ...more
Near the park which my bedroom overlooks there came to stay a family which owned a pack of pugs, five or six of them, active little dogs, none of them overweight as pugs so often are. I saw them recently on their morning walk, and they caused me a pang. I have always wanted a pug and now I can’t have one, because buying a puppy when you are too old to take it for walks is unfair.
Athill (who is ...more
In this book Diana Athill very honestly describes what it means to be in your ...more
At age 89, Diana Athill has written a moving and thoughtful memoir on what it means to grow old as an atheist and as a single woman. Athill writes beautifully, with no frills or fancies, and she has an honest approach to the end that we all face.
Somewhere towards the end is a touching and intelligent memoir, by a woman still highly astute well into her nineties. Diana Athill writes about what many older people really think about. She remembers old lovers, some from not that long ago, discusses religion, death and how it felt to become a writer unexpectedly. This is a lovely, readable memoir, it is never depressing, melancholic or self-pitying. Diana Athill comes across as the sort of older woman I would want to be in many ways - ...more
As I lifted the book off the shelf at the Santa Monica Public Library, I thought, "This looks like an interesting book about living at an advanced age." What ...more
I found the book's so-called frankness to be somewhat boring. It seemed to always come back to her sexual experiences.
Her description of her declining faculties depressed me. Maybe because my own are declining and I'd rather not read about other people's struggles with sore feet, etc. I've got my own ...more
Somewhere Towards the End isn't the first book to describe in detail the process of "falling away," the author's apt euphemism for the decline one experiences in old age. Critics compare Athill's memoir to John Bayley's Elegy for Iris and Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck, or the fiction of Philip Roth, Alice Munro, and John Updike. But Athill writes with a nothing-to-lose attitude that brings dignity to a process so often marked by the inevitable slowing of the mind and the deterioration...more
One might think that reading about aging and the approach of death is pure drudgery and to be avoided, but this is one of those writers who, as they say, could write about paint drying and it would be interesting. Her words are casually philosophical, and she touches on a huge array of topics: her lack of marriage and children and how it made her different from everyone around her, the ...more
Yet the early chapters of the book were a real stumbling block for me. Athill's remembrances of her early life are not particularly gripping, nor are her reflections ...more
Having recently read a book about aging (Out of time) which I did not like, I was wary, but decided to plunge in regardless. I am really glad I did.
Aging is definitely the last taboo of our time, together with death. However, TV shows and video games somehow ...more
There is nothing ‘old’ about her style, and her memory and famous sense of humour are on top form. A great strength is the ability to describe both early and much later episodes of her life with tremendous honesty and clarity, and not to flinch from recounting events that do not necessarily show her ...more
Diana wrote this when she was 89. It is worth reading for the quality of the writing alone; the wisdom and entertainment are a beautiful bonus.
Miss Athill's life seems a fine example of the maxim that says, it isn't what happens to you that matters, it's your attitude to it. The big adaption she makes, in my opinion,is to Barry, her long term partner/friend/flatmate. We ...more
"it is a reminder" (being around young people) "that we are not just dots at the end of thin black lines projecting into nothingness, but are parts of the broad, many-coloured river teeming with beginnings, ripenings, decayings, new beginnings--are still parts of it, and our dying will be part of it just as these children's being young is, so while we still have the equipment to ...more
Actually, she may be a delightful person I'd enjoy talking with but I couldn't ...more
She was born in Norfolk in 1917 and educated at home until she was fourteen. She read English at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford and graduated in 1939. She spent the war years working at the BBC Overseas Service in ...more