Yesterday Morning

Yesterday Morning

by Diana Athill
     
 

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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

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Overview

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?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A joy to read from start to finish - Sunday Independent

Athill's astringent prose has the remarkable quality of making one look forward to old age - Evening Standard

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. - Guardian

Athill's honesty in describing her feelings as a young girl and old woman makes her memoir universal. - The Independent

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 - The New York Times Book Review

A compulsively readable memoir of a golden age - The Times

Athill has added importantly to those works of literature which illuminate the vagaries of human emotion. - Daily Telegraph

Kirkus Reviews
The fourth slim volume of memoirs (Stet, 2001, etc.) from the veteran London editor looks back on a mostly blissful English country childhood, concluding that early happiness is life's best preparation for death. Beginning with the passing of her mother ("that a woman of ninety-six was lucky enough to die an easy death without losing her wits . . . there was nothing much to mourn in that"), Athill, 85, offers a series of upbeat accounts of what it's like to be "a mobile reservoir of experience" ("you can so easily let your mind drift") before examining her first 17 years. The eldest of five children born to an upper-middle-class family in Norfolk, Athill offers lush, episodic recollections that drift over the flora and fauna surrounding her grandparent's large country estate, touch on her real and imaginary adventures with siblings, her closeness with horses, and her sensitivity to the varying moods within the many rooms of her grandparents' huge manor house, which she contrasts to the smaller but no less interesting farmhouse that her parents occupied. Things that could have been sources of trauma don't become so here (a malignant "ghost" glimpsed during potty-training; a fussy French governess; a funereal doctor who mistakenly diagnoses her childhood coughs and sniffles as tuberculosis); nor do the exciting but carefully constrained fumblings of teenage love become anything more than momentary interruptions in a childhood rich with the rhythms of nature, the mostly kind, if occasionally incomprehensible, administrations of servants and teachers, and the aloof but unquestioned affection from parents. All these gave Athill a sense of self, and of place, before adult uncertainties intrudedand, as she puts it, "the gates of Eden clanged shut." Graceful recollections of a privileged English childhood that was "directed by common sense as well as with love." (15 b&w photos)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781847084262
Publisher:
Granta Books
Publication date:
10/05/2012
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

DIANA ATHILL was born in 1917. She helped Andre 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 five volumes of memoirs, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, Somewhere Towards the End and a novel, Don't Look at Me Like That.In January 2009, she won the Costa Biography Award for Somewhere Towards the End, and was presented with an OBE. She lives in London.

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