Discarded Memories | A Life Discarded | A Review

Happy Sunday guys!

Today I’m reviewing an old Netgalley read of mine, A Life Discarded by Alexander Masters.


Unique, transgressive and as funny as its subject, A Life Discardedhas all the suspense of a murder mystery. Written with his characteristic warmth, respect and humour, Masters asks you to join him in celebrating an unknown and important life left on the scrap heap.

A Life Discarded is a biographical detective story. In 2001, 148 tattered and mould-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a skip on a building site in Cambridge. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, anonymous diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. Over five years, the award-winning biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of their author, with an astounding final revelation.

A Life Discarded is a true, shocking, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life. The author of the diaries, known only as ‘I’, is the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Part thriller, part love story, part social history, A Life Discarded is also an account of two writers’ obsessions: of ‘I’s need to record every second of life and of Masters’ pursuit of this mysterious yet universal diarist.

Netgalley Review

Really interesting read. Bit like a biography, with hints of mystery. Enjoyed that each chapter, little pieces of the puzzle was coming together. A really interesting book!

I was really excited to read this book. I loved the sound of the book from the blurb and as mentioned above, I certainly found it an interesting read!

To me, it was a bit like a biography and yet with hints of mystery. Who did the diaries belong to? And what were they doing in a skip? A big mystery that with each chapter, more and more of the puzzle comes together.

I enjoyed how the book was set out, with sections from the diaries following on from comments from the author, deciphering what the author meant and when it was written, spanning years of someones life.

It really was an intriguing read and all the dedicating from both the author to solve the mystery and the writer for writing all those years in her books and diaries.

Would recommend this book to readers that enjoy biographies and of course, new to biographies, but lovers of mysteries.

As always, let me know in the comments below if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it, and if not, let me know if you’ll be adding it to your TBR.



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