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A life discarded 148 diaries found in a skip…
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A life discarded 148 diaries found in a skip (edição 2016)

por Alexander Masters

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1126194,494 (3.89)6
"An unorthodox investigative literary biography of a mysterious graphomaniac whose nearly 150 diaries are rescued from a dumpster by the author"--
Título:A life discarded 148 diaries found in a skip
Autores:Alexander Masters
Informação:London Fourth Estate 2016
Colecções:Main collection

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A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in the Trash por Alexander Masters

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    The Address Book por Sophie Calle (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: Calle tells of finding an address book in the street and searching for the people listed in it whom. once found. she asks for information about the book's owner.
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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. ( )
  starbox | Aug 8, 2021 |
As I started reading this book it felt familiar. The feeling grew and I finally checked out Alexander Masters and found that he wrote "Stuart: A life backwards" which I watched as a film because I like Tom Hardy. Then I checked back to the New York Times review of "A Life Discarded" which put me on to this book, and, of course, Stuart Shorter is in there too. I surely did not remember that while I was reading.

There is a tempo to Mr. Masters' writing that somehow came through in the film, although I guess Mr. Hardy and the whole production crew read the book as prep for filming and somehow, oddly, really, the rhythm carried through.

This circularity aside, "A Life Discarded" is a peculiar book. First it is incredible that the diaries were found in the first place; so much of our written work is being lost forever. Then, that they were passed to a biographer of oddball people. And then, the discovery that the 148 notebooks are only about 17% of the whole.

Mr. Masters treats his reading as a mystery. Who is this woman? Why did she write. It was inevitable, I suppose, that Mr. Masters would try to find her, but I found myself wishing that he had not. It's a little different from trying to guess what passersby do for a living because Mr. Masters had years to develop his ideas about the elusive Laura. He plays down any shocks he felt when he finally met Laura Francis whose life he had reconstructed. Revelations are there, of course, but he did not fall over. His relationship with her sounds cordial and measured and she gives permission to publish the book.

Framing the book as a mystery makes this book readable, and the title evokes the question of the value we place on existence. It will seem incredibly dull to some people, but clearly is a treat for others.

"A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in the Trash" by Alexander Masters (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). ( )
  Dokfintong | Jun 22, 2018 |
author inherits 148 diaries that a friend found in a dumpster. We follow him as he discovers more and more about the woman who wrote them. Really enjoyable to follow this path with him. And the lesson: "She wrote them but it seems she never read them". ( )
  margaretfield | Jun 3, 2018 |
148 diaries are found in a skip by two friends of the author of this book, Alexander Masters. They are penned by someone who is obviously a prolific diarist and when, eventually, they find their way into the hands of Masters, he is fascinated by them and the anonymous person who wrote them.

A Life Discarded looks at what Masters knows about the diarist from what he has read, and from what he, in time, finds out. Some parts of the book are really interesting, but ultimately I felt the book was lacking a spark, something that could have made me as fascinated as the author clearly was. Overall though, I enjoyed reading it. ( )
  nicx27 | Jul 13, 2016 |
  TheIdleWoman | Jul 1, 2016 |
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"An unorthodox investigative literary biography of a mysterious graphomaniac whose nearly 150 diaries are rescued from a dumpster by the author"--

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