Stuart, A Life Backwards, is the story of a remarkable friendship between a reclusive writer and illustrator (‘a middle class scum ponce, if you want to be honest about it, Alexander) and a chaotic, knife-wielding beggar whom he gets to know during a campaign to release two charity workers from prison.
Interwoven into this is Stuart’s confession: the story of his life, told backwards. With humour, compassion (and exasperation) Masters slowly works back through post-office heists, prison riots and the exact day Stuart discovered violence, to unfold the reasons why he changed from a happy-go-lucky little boy into a polydrug-addicted-alcoholic Jekyll and Hyde personality, with a fondness for what he called ‘little strips of silver’ (knives to you and me).
Funny, despairing, brilliantly written and full of surprises: this is the most original and moving biography of recent years.
‘Unique and wonderful’ Daily Mail
‘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
′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
′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
About the author
Alexander Masters lives in Cambridge, where he has worked in a hostel for homeless people. This is his first book.
About Alexander Masters