Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Updated: Sep 26
An incredible semi-autobiographical debut and well deserved winner of The Booker 2020, Shuggie Bain us one of those rare books that completely captures you and makes the real world melt away around you while you are reading.
Shuggie is growing up in poverty in 1980s Glasgow with an absent father, siblings who are on their way out to escape into their own burgeoning adulthoods, and an alcoholic mother. Largely focused on his mother, Agnes, and her relationship with alcohol and men, this novel treats an incredibly troubled and often unlikeable woman with all of the tenderness of the child who continues to love her despite it all.
Stuart has a keen eye for detailed observations and while this book explores some intense situations it doesn't linger on the negative and leaves you with a sense of hope despite a great deal of loss.