Alive, Alive Oh!

Alive, Alive Oh!

And Other Things That Matter

Book - 2015
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A luminous, wise, and joyful insight into what really matters at the end of a long life, from the beloved author of the award-winning Somewhere Towards the End. 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.
Publisher: London :, Granta,, 2015.
Branch Call Number: 828.914 ATH
Characteristics: 168 pages ;,21 cm.


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Jun 08, 2019

This is like enjoying your favorite grandma, sharing the adventures of her lifetime, adventures of which nobody will ever have again because the world is a different place and nobody takes risks like they used to, and wishing she was your age so you could hang around her forever.

Diana Athill wrote this when she was 97, and I can't even imagine writing at 97, let alone being so lively still. The Alive Alive in the title is about something else - won't give it away - but she is twice as alive as me now and I'm just a baby in age comparison. Some people just live life so unencumbered by rules, peer and family pressure, inner voices screaming at you to be normal, and finance issues (which she had, but didn't fret or listen to like us regular humans do).

It's so easy to get out of your head and into her writing, to become someone who lives life to the fullest, who enjoys opportunities that most of us never had, or would have said no to because, again, we're regular people and she is extraordinary. Even at 97, she is more alive than everyone in my life. Probably yours, too.

Mar 04, 2016

Beautifully written, very engaging portrait of a very, very interesting lady!

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