Stuart : A life backwards
Stuart, A Life Backwards, is the story of a remarkable friendship between a reclusive writer and illustrator (ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�Â¢ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�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 StuartÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�Â¢ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�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 ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�Â¢ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�little strips of silverÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�Â¢ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ�ÃÂ�ÂÂ� (knives to you and me). Funny, despairing, brilliantly written and full of surprises: this is the most original and moving biography of recent years. First published 2005; this edition with PS section 2006.
Winner of Guardian First Book Award 2005 and Hawthornden Prize 2006. Shortlisted for Whitbread Book Awards: Biography Category 2005 and Samuel Johnson Prize 2005 and British Book Awards: Biography of the Year 2006.
From the reviews of Stuart: '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
Alexander Masters lives in Cambridge, where he has worked in a hostel for homeless people. This is his first book.