Stuart : A Life Backwards

by Alexander Masters

Biography / Autobiography

LoveReading View on Stuart : A Life Backwards

Winner of the the Guardian First Book Award 2005 and Short listed for the Whitbread Biography Award. 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.

Stuart : A Life Backwards Synopsis

‘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. 

Stuart : A Life Backwards Press Reviews

'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

'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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780007200368
Publication date: 04/04/2005
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780007200368
Publication date: 4th April 2005
Author: Alexander Masters
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Genres: Biography / Autobiography,
Categories:

About Alexander Masters

Alexander Masters’ first book, Stuart: A Life Backwards, won the Guardian First Book Award, the Hawthornden Prize and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Costa Biography Prize. Eighteen different newspapers and popular magazines chose it as Book of the Year. It was turned into a BBC film starring Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch. Alexander lives in Sussex.

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