In 2001, 148 tattered and mold-covered notebooks were discovered lying among broken bricks in a bin on a building site in Cambridge, England. Tens of thousands of pages were filled to the edges with urgent handwriting. They were a small part of an intimate, mysterious diary, starting in 1952 and ending half a century later, a few weeks before the books were thrown out. The anonymous author, known only as “I,” is revealed as the tragicomic patron saint of everyone who feels their life should have been more successful. Over five years, the brilliant biographer Alexander Masters uncovers the identity and real history of this secret author, ending with an astounding final revelation.
A biographical detective story that unfolds with the suspense of a mystery―but has all the dazzling originality that made Masters’s Stuart: A Life Backwards such a beloved book―A Life Discarded is a true, poignant, often hilarious story of an ordinary life.