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This is the Life by Alex Shearer

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

A morbidly humorous story of death. Two boys brought up in abject poverty lose their father to lung cancer when they are 12 and 13, then their mother as young adults. There is huge rivalry between the boys, the elder, Louis, being dubbed the clever, academic one. We see this tale from the younger, Alex’s side. Louis flits around the world from job to job, higher qualifications to higher qualifications, never satisfied. He ends up in Australia. Alex plods happily through life and acquires a wife and children. When Louis is diagnosed with a brain tumour, Alex goes to Australia to spend the last few months of his life with him. This is not a sad tale but a frank and enjoyable read of two brothers whose lives, from the beginning, were set in turmoil.

If you like Alex Shearer you might also like to read books by Gavin Extence, Mark Haddon and Michel Rostain.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


This is the Life by Alex Shearer

Even when you have received a death sentence, you still have to live... Life just seems like a big party sometimes, at which we all gradually get edged to the door, and then we are out in the cold. But the party continues without us... This is the story of Louis, who never quite fitted in, and of his younger brother who always tagged along. Two brothers on one final journey together, wading through the stuff that is thicker than water. Tender-hearted, at times achingly funny, This is the Life is a moving testimony to both the resilience of the human spirit and to the price of strawberries.


'This is a lovely touching book. The subject is a poignant one, handled with tact, insight and, most of all, with love'
Alexander McCall Smith

'Beautifully done... A fine book on mortality and siblinghood'
Broadcaster Libby Purves

About the Author

Alex Shearer was born in Wick, in the far north of Scotland. His father was a blacksmith and his mother was a secretary. He enjoyed writing from an early age, and sold his first television script about thirty years ago. He went on to write several TV series, stage plays, radio plays and comedy scripts. Moving into writing for children, his novels BOOTLEG and THE GREATEST STORE IN THE WORLD were adapted for television by the BBC, and his 2003 novel THE SPEED OF THE DARK was shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. He lives in Somerset and is married with two grown-up children.

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Book Info

Publication date

12th February 2015


Alex Shearer

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The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


256 pages


Literary Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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