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Shuggie Bain

Narrated by: Angus King
Length: 17 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Summary

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, it is a blistering debut by a brilliant novelist with a powerful and important story to tell.

©2020 Douglas Stuart (P)2020 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd
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  • Overall
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Wonderful read

Funny, sad, thought provoking but entirely enjoyable. Would highly recommend one of the most entertaining reads in a long time

1 person found this helpful

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Touching funny and sad

Well worth a read. This book looks into a harsh life through innocent eyes. A family dissolved.

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Wonderful Debut Novel

A wonderful atmospheric book with rich characters who suck you into Shuggie’s world in the less savoury areas of Glasgow in the 1980s. I enjoyed it so much and was sad to reach the end as I wanted to know what Shuggie made of his life afterwards. This is Mr Stuart’s first book so I’ll just have to wait for the next one!

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Poor lives but rich story

Story full of recognisable characters in the 70s & 80s. So wanted a fairytale ending but real life gets in the way. Funny & sad - great narrative.

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Heart breaking story.

Hard hitting and very sad but such a good performance and story, especially if you or someone you know has had to live a life with an alcoholic

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Tragic and funny

Probably one of the most tragic books I’ve read/listened to for ages.

Poor Agnes drinking herself to oblivion to be rid of her own life’s bitter disappointments; and poor Shuggie taking on the responsibility of trying to save her.

Touching, relevant, outright laughable in places, raw, and emotional, a memory of Thatcher’s harsh legacy in Scotland.

I loved it and was so disappointed when it ended.

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great story definitely worth buying

really loved this book my heart broke for Agnes's children. brilliantly read by Angus x