Stuart: A Life Backwards

By Alexander Masters

‘Stuart does not like the manuscript. He’s after a bestseller, “like what Tom Clancy writes”. “But you are not an assassin trying to frazzle the president with anthrax bombs,” I point out. You are an ex-homeless, ex-junkie psychopath, I do not add.’

This is the story of a remarkable friendship between a reclusive writer (‘a middle-class scum ponce, if you want to be honest about it, Alexander’), and Stuart Shorter, a homeless, knife-wielding thief. Told backwards – Stuart’s idea – it starts with a deeply troubled thirty-two-year-old and ends with a ‘happy-go-lucky little boy’ of twelve. This brilliant biography, winner of the Guardian First Book Award, presents a humbling portrait of homeless life, and is as extraordinary and unexpected as the man it describes.

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 01 Feb 2006
Pages: 304
ISBN: 978-0-00-720037-5
Alexander Masters lives in London. His second book, ‘The Genius in My Basement’, was published in 2011.

”'Unique and wonderful.” - Daily Mail

”'Possibly the best biography I have ever read.” - Mark Haddon

”'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 -

”'Utterly compelling and very funny.” - Daily Telegraph

”'One of the most remarkable and touching biographies I’ve ever read.” - Minette Marin, Sunday Times

'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 -

”'A comedy of errors and horrors deftly handled and with a terrifically droll sense of humour.” - Melanie McGrath, Evening Standard

'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 -