In 2006 at age 89, Diana Athill wrote her best-selling memoir, Somewhere Near the End, for which she received a National Book Critics Circle Award. This venerable British woman had been a book editor for fifty years, working with distinguished authors like John Updike and Margaret Atwood. After retiring, she launched her own successful writing career. The New York Times said of Somewhere Near the End that it "catalogs the indignities of old age while reminding us of how much joy can be sucked out of a physically diminished life…"
In her first chapter, she reminds us that "The individual just has to be born, to develop to the point at which it can procreate, and then to fall away into death to make way for its successors. Her memoir is about the falling away.
There are many charms and much wisdom in her book. She writes about her decision to buy a tree fern for her garden. When it arrives in a three-inch pot, she realizes that she will never see it become a full grown tree. Her message to us is clear. Buy it anyway.
Thanks to the Internet, I was able to get an update on this nonagenarian. Have a look at