Book Review - Alive, Alive Oh! And Other Things That Matter

by Diana Athill (Granta) ISBN: 9781783782543

Diana Athill OBE was born in Norfolk in 1917. After graduating from Oxford and working for the BBC throughout WWII, Diana entered the publishing industry where she was an editor for over 50 years, collaborating with many well-known authors. 

While maintaining an unusual lifestyle filled with unconventional relationships Diana blossomed into an award-winning author, becoming best known for her memoirs. 

In this collection, Diana’s essays tell of childhood adventures in her grandparents’ large garden at Ditchingham Hall, of romances and love affairs, of the sad loss of her baby and brush with death during a miscarriage at age 43, of growing old and moving into a care home to find unexpectedly rewarding relationships and a new kind of happiness. 

I enjoyed all of the essays but the one that I found most thought-provoking told of Diana’s thoughts on the situation in Trinidad and Tobago. Her insights into the interaction between the people of Tobago and British expats living on the island, also the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago raise questions about colonialism and its aftermath. 

Irene Roper


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