Stuart: A Life Backwards

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9780007200368: Stuart: A Life Backwards

A unique biography of a homeless man and a complete portrait of the hidden underclass.

‘So here it is, my attempt at the story of Stuart Shorter, thief, hostage taker, psycho and sociopath street raconteur, my spy on how the British chaotic underclass spend their troubled days at the beginning of this century: a man with an important life. I wish I could have presented it to Stuart before he stepped in front of the 11.15 train from London to Kings Lynn.’

Stuart Shorter’s brief life was one of turmoil and chaos. In this remarkable book, a masterful act of biographical restoration, Alexander Masters retraces Stuart’s troubled journey. Stuart was homeless, with many of the problems this sub-section of English society display; alcoholism, drug-addiction, crime, violence. Scattered with glimpses of the author’s friendship with Stuart in the years before his death, Masters gives us Stuart’s life in reverse, tracing his route backwards through the post-office heists and attempts at suicide and the spells inside many of this country’s prisons, on back to a troubled time at school and learning difficulties and a violent childhood that acted like a springboard into the trouble that was to follow him all his life.

This extraordinary book is a glimpse at the underbelly of English society, a world largely hidden from our lives. Funny, despairing, uplifting, brilliantly-written, it is one of the most original biographies of recent years.

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Review:

'It will surely prove to be the debut of the year.' Andrew O'Hagan, Telegraph

'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…the structure of Stuart is a masterstroke, allowing buried secrets to be uncovered like hunks of beef beneath silver domes.' Observer

'One of the most unusual biographies of recent years … one of 2005's outstanding debuts.' Metro

'A bitterly funny book.' Guardian

'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. Not since John Healey's classic memoir The Grass Arena has life on the street been catalogued with such candour and to such illuminating effect … unforgettably moving. A gripping read." Tim Lott, Sunday Times

'This is a very rare and moral and haunting book, the best of its kind since Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van. On the way to telling the story of one homeless man, Alexander Masters manages to tell a compelling story about modern Britain, and a new and sometimes funny story about the trials of authorship. A great first book: I think it should replace the Gideon Bible in every hotel room in Britain.' Andrew O'Hagan'It will surely prove to be the debut of the year.' Andrew O'Hagan, Telegraph

'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…the structure of Stuart is a masterstroke, allowing buried secrets to be uncovered like hunks of beef beneath silver domes.' Observer

'One of the most unusual biographies of recent years … one of 2005's outstanding debuts.' Metro

'A bitterly funny book.' Guardian

'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. Not since John Healey's classic memoir The Grass Arena has life on the street been catalogued with such candour and to such illuminating effect … unforgettably moving. A gripping read." Tim Lott, Sunday Times

'This is a very rare and moral and haunting book, the best of its kind since Alan Bennett's The Lady in the Van. On the way to telling the story of one homeless man, Alexander Masters manages to tell a compelling story about modern Britain, and a new and sometimes funny story about the trials of authorship. A great first book: I think it should replace the Gideon Bible in every hotel room in Britain.' Andrew O'Hagan

About the Author:

Alexander Masters lives in Cambridge, where he has worked in a hostel for homeless people. This is his first book.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Masters, Alexander
Published by Fourth Estate (2005)
ISBN 10: 0007200366 ISBN 13: 9780007200368
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