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Publisher Description

Winner of the Booker Prize 2020
Winner of 'Book of the Year' at the British Book Awards 2021
Winner of 'Debut of the Year' at the British Book Awards 2021
Shortlisted for the US National Book Award for Fiction 2020

'Douglas Stuart has written a first novel of rare and lasting beauty.' - Observer

'We were bowled over by this first novel, which creates an amazingly intimate, compassionate, gripping portrait of addiction, courage and love.' The judges of the Booker Prize

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 Édouard Louis, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, a blistering debut by a brilliant writer with a powerful and important story to tell.

Fiction & Literature
20 February
Pan Macmillan

Customer Reviews

haloaloan ,


good read.

Aliumbongo ,

A harsh reality in a beautiful book.

I loved this book. The scraps of a mother’s love turns bitter and ill willed through addiction and shame. The growth and disappointment of hard lived lives in an environment so sad it’s black embers stick to your soul. Drink is the black dog of Glasgow, but don’t let that put you off reading book. The characters are present with the weight of reality, the backdrop is hard and it’ll break your heart whilst marvelling at range of what children can endure. I thanked the Glaswegian gods when Shugie finally found a friend. I couldn’t put it down.
Five Stars

kmmrkhan ,

Took a while

It was a good book! But feel like the middle got quite long. Was very touching and enjoyed the read tho

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