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Matchstick Man

Julia Kelly

Their relationship was passionate and extraordinary; each of them inspired the other. Their friends were writers, artists and rock stars; they lived a glamorous life of exhibitions, parties and concerts. They became parents to a daughter they adored.

But Charlie suddenly changed, becoming hopelessly forgetful, angry and confused. This is an unbearably honest, unsentimental and heartbreaking description of a brilliant man's mental disintegration and its effects on his family. Charlie's disturbing behaviour is described in a series of terrible, understated revelations.

An unforgettable telling of a story that will be familiar to many thousands of people in the UK and Ireland.

'[A] candid, affecting and beautifully written account of living with Alzheimer's' The Bookseller.

'Julia Kelly finds beauty in words ... A sad book about the loss of a mind and the conflicting layers of a relationship. We can only sigh in relief that such a talented writer was created in the process' Ruth Fitzmaurice, Irish Times.

'Heartbreaking ... Yet somehow, at the same time, it is uplifting and life-affirming, and at times even funny ... [Kelly] writes beautifully and with great humanity' Irish Independent.

'Kelly's talent is such that she is able to wring so much beauty, pathos and even humour from all this trauma ... Matchstick Man challenges us to consider what a life is and, perhaps, to appreciate it all the more' Dublin Sunday Independent.

'Traces the bitter reality of Alzheimer's disease as few other pieces of writing have ever done' Nenagh Guardian.

'This moving book traces the reality of Alzheimer's disease as few other pieces of writing have done' The Clare Champion.

'Julia Kelly writes with confidence and with meticulous attention to the grind of daily life ... She is impressively honest about her failings and his' Sunday Times.

'I admired Matchstick Man, Julia Kelly's unsparing account of coping with her husband's alzheimer's' Madeleine Keane in the Literary Diary, Sunday Independent.

'Ragged and terrifying, but it also achieves a rare grace, as Kelly writes her way from resentment to compassion. It is a tribute to her craft that as the book ends we can only wonder at Charlie's fortitude, and hers' Times Literary Supplement.

'An intensely honest and at times, almost painful to read memoir ... The book doesn't shy away from the devastating effect the disease has on the couple's relationship and on their young daughter. Kelly doesn't hide any of the pain or destruction that the breakdown of her once beloved Charlie has on her life. A beautifully written, achingly honest memoir that stayed with me long after I finished it' Sinéad Moriarty, Irish Independent, Books of the Year.

Julia Kelly met a charismatic and successful artist, Charlie Whisker, while she was working on her first novel. He was twenty years older than her.

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