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Alexander Masters

Autor(a) de Stuart: A Life Backwards

8+ Works 1,204 Membros 50 Críticas

Obras por Alexander Masters

Associated Works

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2018 (2018) — Contribuidor — 65 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum



Reading this made me feel very uncomfortable.
RRabas | 6 outras críticas | Jun 16, 2023 |
Completely unputdownable true story. A couple of academics find a skip outside a renovated house containing 148 notebooks. Intrigued they remove them- fifty-years worth of diaries. But whose? They pass them on to the author...
Masters begins reading them, not knowing even the gender of their writer. In no order.. angst-ridden teenage outpourings give way to troubled adulthood and old age....
Gleaning hints along the way: a job (but the establishment's long destroyed all records); an address (but did she actually live there? Anyway, it's burnt down), Masters employs the services of a graphologist and a private detective, while creating a composite picture of the elusive diarist.
The interest doesnt particularly come from the writer (who, it turns out, wrote vastly more yet.) - this is not a person who succeeds in life or does anything of note besides writing reams on her thoughts. But it's the witness to a person's inner life from 13 to old age. And unlike a novel or carefully crafted biography, "Four decades before people began wearing prtable computers to brecord their physiological data and video their lives, Laura began a more perceptive work: a daily record of an ordinary woman's thoughts about her existewnce, written without any artfulness or false dreams- written, so to speak, from the inside."
One of my stand out reads of 2021.
… (mais)
starbox | 6 outras críticas | Aug 8, 2021 |
This book was full of surprises: from the funny to the heartbreaking to the sublime. Also equal parts frustrating and rewarding, I never quit wanting to learn more about Stuart.
achmorrison | 37 outras críticas | Jul 13, 2021 |
As Alexander Masters says at the beginning of this book, there are many different types of homeless people:

'There are those who where doing all right beforehand, but have suffered a temporary setback because their wife has run off with another man (or surprisingly often, another woman). Their business may have collapsed. Their daughter has been killed in a car crash or both....

Then there are the ones who suffer from chronic poverty brought on by illiteracy or social ineptness or what are politely called 'learning disabilities'. Perhaps they are dyslexic, autistic, shy to the point of inanity, never went to school ....

The youngsters who have fallen out with their parents, or have come out of care and don't know what to do next or even make their own breakfast, they're a third homeless category ....

Ex-convicts and ex-army - take away the format of their lives and all they can do is crumple downwards ....

Right at the bottom of this abnormal heap are the people such as Stuart, the 'chaotic' homeless. The chaotic ('Kai-yo-ic'), as Stuart calls them, are beyond repair.'

Alexander Masters first discovers Stuart begging in a doorway around the corner from Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge. From these inauspicious beginnings, when Stuart announced 'As soon as I get the opportunity I'm going to top meself', Alexander and Stuart develop a somewhat unlikely friendship. Alexander is working for a homeless charity and when the directors of the charity are convicted and imprisoned for allowing drugs to be supplied on the charity's premises, both men are key members of the action group that is trying to get the conviction overturned. The development of Alexander's friendship, and frequent utter frustration, with Stuart forms the foreground of the book. Alongside this Alexander looks backwards over Stuart's adult life and childhood to try and discover what went wrong with his life. And a lot has gone wrong with Stuart's life, from glue-sniffing, to drug addiction and alcoholism, from minor crime to car theft, robbery, violence and possible charges of attempted murder. There are reasons why Stuart is known as 'Knife Man Dan' and 'that mad bastard on Level D' to the other homeless of Cambridge city centre. And yet Stuart is also seen as a success story by the social workers and homeless charities that deal with him, and is extraordinarily convincing in his work for the action group.

This is a fascinating, if not very cheerful book, that throws light on a lot of the issues faced by homeless people. Stuart never lived to see the book published, stepping in front of the 11.15 London to King's Lynn train. Recommended.
… (mais)
SandDune | 37 outras críticas | Mar 26, 2019 |


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