For nearly five decades, Diana Athill edited (nursed, coerced, coaxed) some of the most celebrated writers in the English language, among them V. S. Naipaul, Philip Roth, John Updike, Jean Rhys, Mordecai Richler, Molly Keane, and Norman Mailer. A founding editor of the prestigious publishing house André Deutsch Ltd., Athill takes us on a guided tour through the corridors of literary London, offering a keenly observed, devilishly funny, and always compassionate insider’s portrait of the glories and pitfalls of making books—spiced with candid insights about the type of people who make brilliant writers and ingenious publishers, and the idiosyncrasies of both. It is both “wryly humorous” (The New York Time Book Review) and “full of history, wisdom, and dirt” (The Boston Globe).
“This is not literary life as we know it today—huge advances, showbiz and vast conglomerates—but the world of small literary houses . . . An enveloping blast of nostalgia: read and marvel at what we (all of us) are missing.” —Marie-Claire
“A beautifully written, hard-headed, and generally insightful look back at the heyday of post-war London publishing by a woman who was at its center for nearly half a century.” —The Washington Times
“Witty and astute . . . The literarily curious will find [her] portraits of leading contemporary authors irresistible.” —Publishers Weekly