Shuggie Bain (Booker Longlist 2020)

(1 customer review)

£14.99

It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive.

Agnes Bain has always expected more from life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town.

As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest. Shuggie is different.

Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother’s sense of snobbish propriety. The miners’ children pick on him and adults condemn him as no’ right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.

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Description

‘Douglas Stuart is fierce and loving and lovely. He shows us lots of monstrous behavior, but not a single monster . . . His book leaves us gutted and marveling’ New York Times

An Observer ‘Best Debut Novelist of 2020′

It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive.

Agnes Bain has always expected more from life. She dreams of greater things: a house with its own front door and a life bought and paid for outright (like her perfect, but false, teeth). But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and soon she and her three children find themselves trapped in a decimated mining town.

As she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest. Shuggie is different.

Fastidious and fussy, he shares his mother’s sense of snobbish propriety. The miners’ children pick on him and adults condemn him as no’ right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.

Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain lays bare the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, and the hollowness of pride. A counterpart to the privileged Thatcher-era London of Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty, it also recalls the work of Edouard Louis, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, a blistering debut by a brilliant writer with a powerful and important story to tell.

Additional information

Weight 0.5 kg
ISBN

9781529019278

Author

Stuart, Douglas

Publisher

Picador

Binding

Hardback

1 review for Shuggie Bain (Booker Longlist 2020)

  1. Sarah Turner

    I will be honest – I have tended to run a mile when I see a book on the Booker prize list. For years the ones I have come across (either nominated or winners) have often felt inaccessible to me and too literary. So, whilst I have had this book on my shelf for a while, when it was announced for Booker I wondered if i had got it wrong – whether it wasn’t for me after all.
    I was wrong. It is a superb read. Supremely readable, accessible, and dare I say commercial!
    Shuggie Bain is the youngest son of Agnes, and lives in Glasgow with his absent philandering father, his teetering on the edge mother and his two half siblings. When the relationship between his mother and father finally falls apart, so does Agnes. She finds solace in alcohol and Shuggie has to grow up fast. He isn’t like other boys – he isn’t into football, or girls, and finds himself in a bullying school environment. His mothers love however is totally unconditional, and the relationship between the two (or 3, if you count alcohol as a third person in this relationship) is the centre of this book.
    Deeply painful representation of the devastation caused by her addiction, and the poverty that this forces the family to live in, and how they struggle to survive. But equally there is humour and warmth and oh such love. The Scottish dialect throughout is so authentic and such a joy. I alternated between sadness and joy throughout this wonderful read.
    Well paced, well plotted and brilliant characters who broke my heart and put it back together several times over. I would recommend this to one and all.

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