"So many inhibitions, so much fear of letting go, of allowing things to pour out of me, and yet that is what I must do if I am ever to give my life a reasonable and satisfactory purpose. It is like the final, liberating scream that always sticks bashfully in your throat when you make love. I am accomplished in bed, just about seasoned enough I should think to be counted among the better lovers, and love does indeed suit me to perfection, and yet it remains a mere trifle, set apart from what is truly essential, and deep inside me something is still locked away. " Quite a beginning isn't it?
Later on near the end of her diary, she writes: "I have the feeling that my life is not yet finished, that it is not yet a rounded whole. A book, and what a book, in which I have got stuck half-way. I would so much like to read on." I started crying when I read that sentence.
If you are not familiar with Persephone Books, they are perhaps the most beautifully packaged imprint in the world and I've yet to read one of their titles that I didn't enjoy. All their books are trade paper, with dust jackets in a uniform silvery grey with a small cream coloured label for the title and author. The paper is also a beautiful and weighty creamy white and feels wonderful to touch. But it's really their endpapers that are stunning as they are always a reproduction of a fabric that was either from the period in which the book was written or set in. A bookmark with the design is included with each book. For Etty's diaries, Persephone chose a Bauhaus fabric manufactured by a Dutch company and designed by Otti Berger who also died in Auschwitz. Though it was no doubt created for a very different purpose, its evocation of barbed wire gives me the chills.