Stuart : A Life Backwards

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'Stuart does not like the manuscript. He's after a bestseller, "like what Tom Clancy writes". "But you are not an assassin trying to frazzle the president with anthrax bombs," I point out. You are an ex-homeless, ex-junkie psychopath, I do not add.' This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a reclusive writer ('a middle-class scum ponce, if you want to be honest about it, Alexander'), and Stuart Shorter, a homeless, knife-wielding thief. Told backwards - Stuart's idea - it starts with a deeply troubled thirty-two-year-old and ends with a 'happy-go-lucky little boy' of twelve. This brilliant biography, winner of the Guardian First Book Award, presents a humbling portrait of homeless life, and is as extraordinary and unexpected as the man it describes.

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  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 130 x 192 x 24mm | 220g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • HarperPerennial
  • LondonUnited Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations, ports.
  • 0007200374
  • 9780007200375
  • 41,248

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'Unique and wonderful.' Daily Mail 'Possibly the best biography I have ever read.' Mark Haddon 'This is a very rare and haunting book ... A great first book.' Andrew O'Hagan 'Good books like this appear about once every five years. It's been years since I've been so delighted by a book and so surprised by it ... When I'd finished I felt bereft, as if I'd lost an old friend.' Zadie Smith 'Utterly compelling and very funny.' Daily Telegraph 'One of the most remarkable and touching biographies I've ever read.' Minette Marin, Sunday Times 'I feel so strongly about this strange, funny, sad book that I hardly know where to begin ... My enthusiasm feels almost limitless. A page-turner.' Observer 'Funny and original, a startling book ... By the end I was doubled up in tears, but throughout I was often doubled up with laughter. It is dazzling.' Vogue 'A remarkable biography. Unforgettably moving. A gripping read.' Tim Lott, Sunday Times 'A comedy of errors and horrors deftly handled and with a terrifically droll sense of humour.' Melanie McGrath, Evening Standard 'With his first book, Alexander Masters ... has achieved something remarkable. He has, without patronising, given a voice to the "underclass"; at the same time, without preaching, he shows us the value of even the most damaged of human lives ... a powerful book, humane, instructive and entirely original. Sunday Telegraph

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About Alexander Masters

Alexander Masters lives in London. His second book, 'The Genius in My Basement', was published in 2011.

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