ALEXANDER MASTERS; A LIFE DISCARDED
How do you write a biography of someone you’ve never met?
Condensed from a preoccupation that lasted half a decade, Alexander Masters’s latest book A Life Discarded locates fantasy in ‘a daily record of an [ordinary person’s] thoughts about their existence, written […] so to speak, from the inside’. Again, Cambridge – by now surely to be understood as the author’s topographical muse – is the tableau; the city’s seemingly uncanny ability to both produce and submerse its more ‘sensitive’ inhabitants providing reader and author — armed with paper, pen and a private investigator named Vince — a series of wildly compelling, darkly comic revelations. Read more…
“A nice day in general; just enjoying myself. No particular thoughts, except perhaps I’d like to change my life.”
In 2001, two friends of mine, Professor Richard Grove and Dr Dido Davies, were mucking around in a building site when they discovered armfuls of notebooks scattered across the rubble in a skip. Some of the volumes had royal emblems stamped on the front. Others were military-issue journals. Read more…
Occupation: Writer, editor and translator
Book: Blood Relatives
What’s it about: Leeds, late 1975 and a body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields. Ricky, teenage delivery van boy for Corona pop, will be late for The Matterhorn Man. In the years that follow until his capture, the Yorkshire Ripper and Rick’s own life draw ever closer with unforeseen consequences. Set in a time in England’s history of upheaval and change – both personal and social – this is a story told in an unforgettable voice.
Why we’re excited: Not only is Blood Relatives written in a startlingly unique and transfixing dialect, the setting offers a completely separate, parallel account of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. The resulting tension that supports an already astonishing narrative is surely the reason why Alexander Masters, proponent of the uncanny within the real, called Blood Relatives ‘Thrilling, poignant and fresh’. Read more…
We asked 4th Estate staff to write 30 words on one of 30 classic 4th Estate titles. Here’s marketing assistant Candice Carty-Williams on ‘Stuart: A Life Backwards‘ by Alexander Masters
‘There aren’t many books that blur the lines between protagonist and antagonist, and that remind you that we have it in us to be both, in our own story.’