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In 1963 Diana Athill published an autobiography called Instead of a Letter, which has gained an enduring reputation. Its latest 'rediscovery' was in the United States in 1984, when a reviewer in the Washington Post said: 'Only a few totally honest accounts of a human life exist...To see the truth of your own life you must first have gotten beyond all illusions about yourself, and probably about the world, as well. She is also a gifted writer - and if one may judge by this book, an enchanting woman.' This caused a friend to chide Miss Athill for writing nothing further (except for one little-noticed novel). Miss Athill then divulged that she had in fact written two 'documentaries', one in the late 1960s, one in the early 1970s, which were 'in a drawer somewhere'. She was persuaded to disinter them, and this astonishing book is the first of them. It is the story of how and why an exceptionally charming man killed himself. He was an Egyptian who had been exiled by Nasser's regime because he was a Communist, and he wrote one very good novel. She calls him 'Didi', a name not unlike that given by his family to the real man. His gifts were considerable, but were undermined by depression, which made him self-destructive: a gambler, a drinker, a wrecker of relationships - and a friend impossible to drop because of his extreme vulnerability. Miss Athill, having by a narrow margin steered clear of being in love with him, took him on and supported him for his last three years, gradually learning how little she or anyone else could do to avert what Didi called 'the one authentic act in my life': his suicide, which took place at her flat. Their friendship remained complex and intense even after any resemblance to a love affair, as usually understood, had long evaporated. For this reason Diana Athill knew that he could not write about Didi as a detached observer. The interaction between them was part of the story, so she would have to include herself in it if it was to be bas near the truth as she could get it. It is this which gives her book its powerful immediacy and humanity.
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Diana Athill was born in 1917 and spent her childhood in Norfolk, which remains her family's home. After leaving Oxford, where she read English, she went to London and got a job with the BBC which lasted for the duration of the Second World War. In 1946, by chance, she drifted into publishing, which has remained her profession ever since. She has been a director of Andre Deutsch Limited since the firm was founded in 1952. Her own publications are An Unavoidable Delay (1960 - a collection of stories published only in the United States), Instead of a Letter (1963 - an autobiography) and Don't Look At Me Like That (1969 - a novel).
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Book Description Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1986. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Includes dust jacket. A slight tan to the page edges. Small tear to the front of the dust jacket. Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Seller Inventory # mon0010189168
Book Description Jonathan Cape Ltd, 1986. Hardcover. Condition: Used; Good. Seller Inventory # mon0001750895
Book Description JONATHON CAPE, LONDON, 1986. 1st Edition. LONDON: JONATHON CAPE. Very good+ Bright tight copy in Very good+ bright dustjacket. 1986. 1st Edition. ISBN 0-224-02834-0 . Very good+ Bright tight copy in Very good+ bright dustjacket. Seller Inventory # NOV2018026808I
Book Description New York: Ticknor and Fields, 1986, 1986. Cloth and Boards. Near Fine/Near Fine. First American Edition. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. 158 pages. Some minor rubbing to the jacket. Previous owners name stamped neatly on the inside cover. Seller Inventory # 001006
Book Description Jonathan Cape, 1986. Hardcover (Original Cloth). Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Size: Octavo (standard book size). Text body is clean, and free from previous owner annotation, underlining and highlighting. Binding is tight, covers and spine fully intact. No foxing in this copy. Dust Jacket is in very good condition, without tears or chips or other damage. Dust Jacket un-clipped. Edges browned slightly. Quantity Available: 1. Shipped Weight: Under 500 grams. Category: Psychology & Psychiatry; Biography & Autobiography. ISBN: 0224028340. ISBN/EAN: 9780224028349. Pictures of this item not already displayed here available upon request. Inventory No: 20868. Seller Inventory # 20868
Book Description Jonathan Cape, London, 1986. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. not price clipped, no inscriptions, D/j has some fading to spine, D/j protected by clear removable sleeve. Seller Inventory # 03100