Shuggie Bain

Douglas Stuart

2020 Short-listed

The Booker Prize

See more book details

Picador

9781529019285
448
Synopsis

Winner the Booker Prize 2020


Shortlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction 2020
The Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2020

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

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.

'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

In the media
A heartbreaking novel, a book both beautiful and brutal . . . All that grief and sadness and misery has been turned into something tough, tender and beautifully sad.

The Times

Leaves us gutted and marvelling: Life may be short, but it takes forever.

New York Times

Rarely does a debut novel establish its world with such sure-footedness, and Stuart’s prose is lithe, lyrical and full of revelatory descriptive insights.

Alex Preston Observer

An astonishing portrait, drawn from life, of a society left to die . . . Shuggie Bain has been longlisted for the Booker Prize. In a just world, it would win.

Daily Telegraph

Blogs featuring Shuggie Bain

  1. Blog

    Douglas Stuart wins the 2020 Booker Prize for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain

    20/11/2020