Don't Look At Me Like That | Granta

Don’t Look At Me Like That

Diana Athill

In England half a century ago, well-brought-up young women are meant to aspire to the respectable life. Some things are not to be spoken of; some are most certainly not to be done. There are rules, conventions. Meg Bailey obeys them. She progresses from Home Counties school to un-Bohemian art college with few outward signs of passion or frustration. Her personality is submerged in polite routines; even with her best friend, Roxane, what can’t be said looms far larger than what can. But circumstances change. Meg gets a job and moves to London. Roxane gets married to a man picked out by her mother. And then Meg does something shocking – shocking not only by the standards of her time, but by our own. As sharp and startling now as when it was written, Don’t Look at Me Like That matches Diana Athill’s memoirs After a Funeral and Instead of a Letter in its gift for storytelling and its unflinching candour about love and betrayal.

  • Published: 01/12/2016
  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781783783786
  • 192 pages

[The writing] shows [Athill's] editor's eye... This novel shows not so much that Athill should have written more fiction - we wouldn't want to be without those memoirs - but that she could

Guardian

Don't Look at Me Like That evokes a London of rain; grimy bedsits, plush, hushed restaurants, illicitness and despair...Athill skilfully blends diffidence and pathos to produce a story at once all-too familiar and unique

Catherine Taylor

Athill is wonderful - always aware of the need to entertain and beguile her reader ... Fascinating and surprising

Daisy Goodwin, Sunday Times

The Author

Diana Athill was born in 1917. She helped André Deutsch establish the publishing company that bore his name and worked as an editor for Deutsch for four decades. Athill’s distinguished career as an editor is the subject of her acclaimed memoir Stet. She is the author of seven further volumes of memoirs, Instead of a Letter, After a Funeral, Yesterday Morning, Make Believe, Somewhere Towards the End, Alive, Alive Oh!, A Florence Diary, and a collection of letters, Instead of a Book, all published by Granta. Her only novel, Don’t Look At Me Like That, was first published in 1967. In January 2009, she won the Costa Biography Award for Somewhere Towards the End, and was presented with an OBE. She died in January 2019.

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From the Same Author

Diana Athill on Granta.com

Fiction | Granta Books

Don’t Look at Me Like That

Diana Athill

‘When I was at school I used to think that everyone disliked me, and it wasn’t far from true.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta Books

Editing Vidia

Diana Athill

‘I thought so highly of Vidia’s writing and felt his presence on our list to be so important that I simply could not allow myself not to like him.’

Essays & Memoir | Granta Books

Lessons

Diana Athill

‘My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness.’