For nearly five decades Diana Athill edited (nursed, coerced, and coaxed) some of the most celebrated writers in the English language. Stet is her "charming and insightful memoir of life in a publishing house when it was possible to be small, live hand to mouth, and attract big authors" (Bookseller). A founding editor of the prestigious literary publishing house Andre Deutsch Ltd., Athill takes us on a guided tour through the corridors of literary London, illuminating the portraits of some of the century's most fascinating writers from her unique and privileged perspective as editor, friend, and keenly observant insider. Vividly evocative and engaging, Stet is spiced with candid observations about the type of people who make brilliant writers and ingenious publishers, and the idiosyncrasies of both; and it is enlivened by her memories of such great literary figures as Jean Rhys, V. S. Naipaul, Gitta Sereny, Norman Mailer, Philip Roth, Mordecai Richler, and a host of others. Most of all, it is Athill's voice that captivates -- intimate, lively, generous, humorous -- the voice of a favorite aunt who is as warm and big-hearted as she is worldly and irreverent. Packed with delights, this is a book about the world of books, about people who write them and the process of making them, a world dissected with sharp and irresistible honesty. Stet is an invaluable contribution to the literature of literature.
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For nearly 50 years, Athill edited some of the best minds of the postwar generation, including Molly Keane, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Brian Moore, V.S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Mordecai Richler, Philip Roth, Gitta Sereny and John Updike. A founding director of the now-defunct London publishing house Andre Deutsch Ltd., Athill "intervened" with legendary taste and self-restraint, earning her the loyalty, and sometimes the friendship, of her frequently tetchy, fragile authors ("Writers don't encounter really attentive readers as often as you might expect, and find them balm to their twitchy nerves when they do; which gives their editors a good start with them"). Athill, now an exuberant 83, looks back on her half-century in the business, beginning with her wartime fling with Hungarian ex-pat Andre Deutsch. The affair was brief, but the relationship flourished, as the two founded first Allan Wingate (which "pounced" to publish The Naked and the Dead) and then, in 1952, the house that bore both Deutsch's name and the stamp of his ego. Dealing with his temper and self-indulgence prepared Athill for playing "nanny" to a series of difficult writers, chief among them the "ugly drunk" Rhys; Morris Chester, an all-but-forgotten surrealist novelist plagued by "voices"; and Naipaul, whom Athill categorizes as the petulant and depressive. Cheerfully self-effacing as editor and friend, Athill offers few details of her personal life. But on the subject of her workplace and the "Interesting People" she met there, she is unfailingly candid, generous, witty and astute, an eyewitness with a famously discerning eye. Agent, Angela Rose, Granta Books, London. (Mar.) Forecast: Publishing insiders and the literarily curious will find Athill's portraits of leading contemporary authors irresistible. That won't translate into major sales, but it does offer an opportunity to enterprising booksellers, who may find happy results if they display this title along with Jason Epstein's forthcoming Book Business.
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Who can resist a memoirist in her eighties who drolly admits that she decided to tell the story of her felicitous life in London publishing because she "imagines that she will feel a little less dead if a few people read it"? Splendidly insouciant, Athill recounts her contentious but enormously productive friendship with Andre Deutsch, with whom she cofounded a prestigious publishing house and gamely published everything from obscure French writers to cookbooks to such major American talents as Norman Mailer and John Kenneth Galbraith. Pithy and forthright, Athill ponders the reasons she and other professional women accepted lower pay than men, chronicles the booms and busts of British book publishing over the decades, and describes her intuitive approach to editing and working with Jean Rhys, Arthur Chester, and V. S. Naipaul. In closing, she insists modestly that although she was considered "one of the best editors in London," she did little "beyond routine work and being agreeable to interesting people." Donna Seaman
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Book Description Grove Press, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New Hardcover! Pristine unmarked pages, may have very slight warehouse wear, no remainder marks, still a great buy straight from warehouse unread, sealed in plastic, exact artwork as listed, Bookseller Inventory # 107170510247
Book Description Grove Press, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0802116833
Book Description Grove Press, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110802116833
Book Description Grove Press, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0802116833
Book Description Grove Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0802116833 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1302214