Late Night Treat
It was a late night – and I hadn’t managed a siesta, but my concentration only wavered twice: once on learning Diana had been diagnosed with cancer and once when a voice over said her sister was born as a result of an affair of her mother’s. The comforting thing is that Diana looks strong and well and her genes from her mother and grandmother should stand her in good stead.
It was all perfectly relaxed and as if one were really spending time with the author. Credit to the programme makers – what happens behind the camera is key to the whole atmosphere and Diana had said they were ‘honeys’. Alan Yentob – quietly deferential - encouraged her to let her memories flow with an occasional question to stimulate her thought process.
She is very good with people and captivated an audience in
I do wish they would stop calling where she lives an ‘old people’s home’. Diana reckons you have to have read Proust and Kafka to be accepted. It really is a splendid place but – at present – there are no men. There was another kind of life class taking place where some of the residents – including Diana, were drawing a female model who was posing without a stitch.
My heart sank when Diana got into her rather battle scarred car. I had thought that after a terrifying accident on a drive to
I think I shall have to go back and re-read ‘Life Class.’ It is four books in one consisting of ‘Yesterday Morning’ about her idyllic childhood in Norfolk, ‘Instead of a Letter’ about her being jilted by her fiancée in the most heartless way, Stet about her life in publishing and ‘ Somewhere towards the End’ about getting old..
What impressed me most about Diana is her unflinching honesty; she tells us she read in her sister’s diary that her sister’s boyfriend had warned her against certain behaviour, ‘You don‘t want to end up like Diana,’ and her sister agreed that no she didn’t. Then again she tells us she read in a male friend’s diary that he has started to detest her and every thing she says or writes.
Diana’s mantra is to tell it ’just as it was.’
Whether you read the books separately or tackle the tome ‘Life Class’ give your self a treat and read Diana Athill.