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Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681376110
Pages: 192
Publication Date: June 14, 2022

Don't Look At Me Like That

by Diana Athill

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An NYRB Classics Original

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 as 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 candor about love and betrayal.


Don't Look at Me Like That evokes a London of rain; grimy bedsits, plush, hushed restaurants, illicitness and despair. . . Athill skillfully 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 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.
—John Self, The Guardian