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Alive, Alive Oh!

And Other Things That Matter

Diana Athill (Author)

Overview | Formats

“An invitation to sit a spell with an intractable and witty friend.” —New York Times Book Review

What will you remember if you live to be 100?

Diana Athill charmed readers with her prize-winning memoir Somewhere Towards the End, which transformed her into an unexpected literary star. Now, on the eve of her ninety-eighth birthday, Athill has written a sequel every bit as unsentimental, candid, and beguiling as her most beloved work.

Writing from her cozy room in Highgate, London, Diana begins to reflect on the things that matter after a lifetime of remarkable experiences, and the memories that have risen to the surface and sustain her in her very old age.

“My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness,” she writes. In warm, engaging prose she describes the bucolic pleasures of her grandmother’s garden and the wonders of traveling as a young woman in Europe after the end of the Second World War. As her vivid, textured memories range across the decades, she relates with unflinching candor her harrowing experience as an expectant mother in her forties and crafts unforgettable portraits of friends, writers, and lovers.

A pure joy to read, Alive, Alive Oh! sparkles with wise and often very funny reflections on the condition of being old. Athill reminds us of the joy and richness of every stage of life—and what it means to live life fully, without regrets.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • January 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35356-3
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 176 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverAlive, Alive Oh!: And Other Things That Matter


Endorsements & Reviews

“Like Athill’s favorite paintings, her essays ‘make you see, when you leave their presence, that everything has become more alive.'” — Laura Miller, Salon

“Witty, candid…If you haven’t read Athill, and open her latest book expecting serene reflections from a nonagenarian sipping tea in her garden, you’re in for a surprise.” — Carmela Ciuraru, San Francisco Chronicle

“Enchanting…Diana Athill, 98, still has a few things to teach us about growing old with dignity and humor and grace…Astute and sparkling.” — Ann Levin, Associated Press

“So beautifully written and exquisitely detailed…[Athill] mines her memories of a life well-lived and generously lays them out on the page for the rest of the world to enjoy.” — Meganne Fabrega, Star Tribune

“Moving and always engaging…The sheer candour with which she writes and the overwhelming sense of a life fully lived are both quite marvelous.” — The Bookseller

Also by Diana Athill All

  1. Book CoverAfter a Funeral: A Memoir


  2. Book CoverInstead of a Letter: A Memoir


  3. Book CoverSomewhere Towards the End: A Memoir


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