“What a feast. Diana’s work compels me. . . . She’s got her teeth into life!”—Alice Munro
Diana Athill is one of our great women of letters. The renowned editor of V. S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, and many others, she is also a celebrated memoirist whose Somewhere Towards the End
was a New York Times
bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner. For thirty years, Athill corresponded with the American poet Edward Field, freely sharing jokes, pleasures, and pains with her old friend. Letters to a Friend
is an epistolary memoir that describes a warm, decades-long friendship. Written with intimacy and spontaneity, candor and grace, it is perhaps more revealing than any of her celebrated books.
Edited, selected, and introduced by Athill, and annotated with her own delightful notes, this collection—rich with Athill’s characteristic wit, humor, elegance, and honesty—reveals a sharply intelligent woman with a keen eye for the absurd, a brilliant turn of phrase, and a wicked sense of humor. Covering her career as an editor, the adventure of her retirement, her immersion in her own writing, and her reactions to becoming unexpectedly famous in her old age—including gossip about legendary authors and mutual friends, sharp pen-portraits, and uninhibited accounts of her relationships—Letters to a Friend
describes a flourishing friendship and offers a portrait of a woman growing older without ever losing her zest for life.