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Stuart, A Life Backwards, is the story of a remarkable friendship between a reclusive writer and illustrator (a middle class scum ponce, if you want to be honest about it, Alexander) and a chaotic, knife-wielding beggar whom he gets to know during a campaign to release two charity workers from prison. Interwoven into this is Stuart’s confession: the story of his life, told backwards.
With humour, compassion (and exasperation) Masters slowly works back through post-office heists, prison riots and the exact day Stuart discovered violence, to unfold the reasons why he changed from a happy-go-lucky little boy into a polydrug-addicted-alcoholic Jekyll and Hyde personality, with a fondness for what he called “little strips of silver” (knives to you and me). Funny, despairing, brilliantly written and full of surprises: this is the most original and moving biography of recent years.