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Shuggie Bain: A Novel por Stuart Douglas
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Shuggie Bain: A Novel (original 2020; edição 2020)

por Stuart Douglas (Autor)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,4901286,032 (4.2)313
Fiction. Literature. This is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher's policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light but a burden for him and his siblings. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a philandering taxi-driver husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good??her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamourous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion's share of each week's benefits??all the family has to live on??on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes's older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to care for her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. Meanwhile, Shuggie is struggling to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that he is "no right," a boy with a secret that all but him can see. Agnes is supportive of her son, but her addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her??even her beloved Shuggie. A heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love, Shuggie Bain is an epic portrayal of a working-class family that is rarely seen… (mais)
Membro:ThomasPluck
Título:Shuggie Bain: A Novel
Autores:Stuart Douglas (Autor)
Informação:Grove Press (2020), 448 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca, Em leitura
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:currently-reading

Informação Sobre a Obra

Shuggie Bain por Douglas Stuart (2020)

  1. 40
    Angela's Ashes por Frank McCourt (Utilizador anónimo)
  2. 10
    L'Assommoir por Émile Zola (raudakind)
    raudakind: Good glimpses into the horrors of poverty in different historical eras, enlivened by vivid and clever descriptions of the manners and surroundings of the characters.
  3. 00
    Trespasses por Louise Kennedy (shaunie)
    shaunie: Both feature alcoholic mothers and have similarly grim subject matter, but somehow manage to transcend that into something quite beautiful.
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Inglês (114)  Holandês (6)  Sueco (2)  Catalão (1)  Espanhol (1)  Norueguês (1)  Todas as línguas (125)
Mostrando 1-5 de 125 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
"They were suspicious of this woman who wore lipstick in the early morning and unchipped nail polish the color of sex."
Five stars for the writing, the characterizations (especially mother and son) and the story. Beautiful but bleak, I slowed down mid-book for a time (holidays), but was soon under the [a:Douglas Stuart|20681825|Douglas Stuart|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] spell again. My empathy was with little Shuggie abandoned by all to pursue his loyal love for his wasted, alcoholic mammy. The portrayal of public housing tenants in the Galway suburbs is raw with cruelty and need. The men have lost their jobs and drink, fight and fuck away their frustrations. The women scrabble and gossip while trying to feed their too-many babies. Shuggie Bain's mother Beautiful Agnes drinks up everything - food, filial love, belongings and men. But throughout the reader cares about these folks, their dismal stories with flashes of humor, and stays with them throughout the book for its exquisite language and train wreck of a tale, thankful that the author persevered for ten years and thirty rejections toward his Booker prize. ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
I listed to this in audiobook format.

Shuggie Bain is about a child growing up in Glasgow in the 1980s. His mother is an alcoholic, his father is abusive, and they live in poverty. It's about this family, but also about the neighborhoods and towns devastated by economic downturns and joblessness. The aimless prideful men who end up violent and drunk, their wives left on the dole, and the hungry children with no loving adults or role models in their lives. Despite the extremely dark, depressing, and serious themes, the story is told with just the right amount of lightheartedness and humor. The Glaswegian dialect and colorful insults alone had me in stitches. Ultimately the story is hopeful but only after many many chapters watching the inevitable horrors unfold for this poor boy who wants only to be loved. It's hard to "like" a book like this, though I think I did. It was extremely well written, though graphic and gritty to the bone, and tells an important story in a very authentic way. ( )
  technodiabla | May 7, 2024 |
POWERFUL, from cover to end, throughout this book I could relate to aspects from it from my own childhood being raised in a home with a war damaged father who turned to drink and a mother who joined him so that she could numb the anger and despair. As a child it is like living like as a whipped puppy and like Shuggie there is the IRRATIONAL COMMITMENT to a parent who loves you for all the right and wrong reasons, but can never find a balance or strength to live normally day to day. Shugggie’s lives in a constant survival mode and on top of this he has to deal with his own sexual identity. A reader will read the mean nasty nature of humans who are in fact wolves dressed up in sheep’s clothing. As you read you, you say to yourself, surely Agnes will get better, come on girl you’ve got pride, you want to punch Eugene and those pit women and children deserve what they get. Then you reassure yourself and say thank goodness this is only a narrative, but like all narratives they have a basis from fact and there is a lot of truth in this book, physical- sexual abuse as well as experimentation by children of life that is well beyond their years. Children are being raised by addicted parents and sadly become damaged as well and once broken the cracks are always there. ( )
  rata | Apr 5, 2024 |
In Misery

Media: Audio
Read by Douglas King
Length: 17 hrs and 30 mins

“A terribly tragic and horrible story of the increasing degradation and poverty of a working class family. Accounts of terrible physical and mental abuse.” - BookAddict review

Yes it’s from a review on LT, though not of Shuggie Bain - it’s of Zola’s L'Assommoir though it does describe Shuggie Bain rather well.

Personally I prefer Zola’s Gervaise to Douglas Stuart’s Agnes. Though both characters descend into drunkenness and pine over undesirable men, I could feel more sympathy for the French alcoholic and I have to believe this has something to do with the writing. Of course Zola sets a high bar.

Poverty and alcoholism don’t always go hand in hand. But they often do. Shuggie Bain’s mother who was born to a poor working class family descends into poverty and alcoholism fairly rapidly once she leaves her first husband. She makes as they say, bad choices.

When we meet Agnes she’s already been married twice but reader doesn’t find out much about her first husband who is simply referred to as “The Catholic”. She has two children Katherine and Leek from the Catholic and Shuggie from her second husband, Shuggie Bain the Elder.

Agnes is unhappy and drowns her sorrows in whatever alcoholic beverage she can get. She spends her government child support money on the grog. She drinks herself into oblivion. Katherine flees the nest and Leek follows shortly after. Shuggie the elder eventually leaves. Young Shuggie, still a child is left to care for his mother. The tragedy of the book is that Shuggie feels himself responsible for his mother’s alcoholism and believes he can save her. He gets no help. The book is set in the UK under Thatcher’s iron reign, and the welfare state, starved of funds does nothing to help.

I did not gain much from this book. I have first hand experience of, and have read enough about alcoholism and poverty, and there’s nothing new for me in Agnes’s degradations. She goes from one horrific situation to a the next, repeating her past mistakes. The book describes her decline in increasingly horror-filled detail. . I suppose that’s the point, but I could see no point in its being driven home time and time again. I did learn one thing though.

After tiring of living with her parents, Agnes moves to a house that Shuggie’s dad, big Shuggie has somehow managed secure. It’s in a run-down council estate which was built for mine workers who are now laid-off. The area is thus referred to as ”The Pits”. So that’s where the saying “going to the pits”comes from.

There’s something to be learned every da. ( )
  kjuliff | Mar 29, 2024 |
2020 Booker Prize winner is effective in showing the circumstance of being a child identifiably "different" (gay) in an unaccepting environment, while also being carried along in the suffering of an alcoholic mother living in poverty. Shuggie has very little agency in the novel, being a child for the bulk of it, so it is rather focused on the tides that push him about and how they affect him, which perhaps is not my favorite kind of reading experience.

The novel's opening chapter is a bit of a head fake - Shuggie is 16 years old and living on his own, the rest of the book is going to be what led up to this, but it is effective in setting the sense of Shuggie as "not right" in the eyes of the community around him and in the voice of self-doubt in his own head. The strong writing however is not false, that will be carried though the novel as you would expect in a Booker winner. Take this scene of Shuggie out after work with some women from his workplace:
With every passing graze of her ringed knuckles, she clamped her fat tongue between her teeth, and kept her eyes burning into the side of his face. When Shuggie had finally flared with embarrrassment, she had tutted, and Jackie had pushed two pound notes across the table to a beaming, victorious Nora. It was a disappointment, sure, but as they drank deeper they decided it had not been a rejection exactly. Something about the boy was no right, and this was at least something they could pity.


This sense of him as "not right" has burrowed into his own mind as well, as one would expect from a life up to then of being seen as such:

In the mirror his wet hair was black as coal. As he brushed it down over his face he was surprised to find it nearly to his chin. He stared and tried to find something masculine to admire in himself: the black curls, the milky skin, the high bones in his cheeks. He caught the reflection of his own eyes in the mirror. It wasn't right. It wasn't how real boys were built to be. He scrubbed at himself again.


After this opening however the novel goes back in time to show Shuggie's childhood with a self-destructive alcoholic mother, an absent father, humiliation from his peers, frequent hunger, sketchy at best school attendance, etc., as he thinks perhaps he can love his mother out of her problem - naturally an entirely doomed effort which provides the novel with pathos upon pathos.

Besides all that, this book did expose me to a nice bit of Scots slang, to wit:

stoated = wandered around
boak = vomit
dout = short end of a cigarette
laldy = with lots of energy, gusto
sleekit = crafty, deceitful
braw = fine, pleasant
stour = swirling dust
messages = groceries
smirr = fine rain, drizzle
flitting = moving house, semi-secretly like
greeting = crying ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 125 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
Shuggie Bain is set in this world of men run aground after the closure of mines, women sunk under the weight of drink, families living week to week on public assistance and disability benefits. It speaks in a Scottish English whose rhythms, even whose vocabulary, can be alien for American readers: misty with smirr and dusty with stour, its bruisers glaikit in their foolishness, gallus in their pride.... At its center is Agnes Bain, an imperious former beauty in a now-ratty mink whose disintegration Stuart observes lovingly but unsparingly. Shuggie is her youngest, her ward, her protector, and her target. He bobs in her beery wake, no more able to save her than his baby doll, Daphne.... Stuart’s project as a writer is in part about clearing space for tenderness among men, space for love.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarVulture, Matthew Schneier (Nov 10, 2020)
 
It is in many ways a harsh, bleak novel, for that decade was a harsh and bleak time in Glasgow, when the shipyards, engineering works and the coalfields on the city’s fringe were closing, and so many of the working-class were no longer working but living on benefits.... There is poverty, squalor and degradation here, much foul language and causal, sometimes brutal sex. What redeems the novel and makes it remarkable is that its central theme is love – a caring, responsible love.... The relationship between Agnes and Shuggie is beautifully, tenderly and understandingly done. Stuart doesn’t sentimentalise it and he hides nothing of the horrors of galloping alcoholism, but there is a gallantry about Agnes which commands respect and admiration, however reluctantly.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarThe Scotsman, Allan Massie (Aug 21, 2020)
 
It is, then, a testament to Douglas Stuart’s talent that all this literary history—along with the tough portraits of Glaswegian working-class life from William McIlvanney, James Kelman, Alasdair Gray, and Agnes Owens—can be felt in Shuggie Bain without either overshadowing or unbalancing the novel ... Stuart’s [has a] Grassic Gibbon–like ability to combine love and horror, and to give equal weight to both. Not only is Shuggie Bain dedicated to his mother, but in the acknowledgments he writes that 'I owe everything to the memories of my mother and her struggle'; he’s clearly determined to give all the contradictory aspects of that struggle their full due ... Stuart’s capacity for allowing wild contradictions to convincingly coexist is also on display in the individual vignettes that comprise the novel, blending the tragic with the funny, the unsparing with the tender, the compassionate with the excruciating ... Otherwise, the author is too generous—and, it would seem, too fond of his mother—for the central focus to lie anywhere but in the fierce, warm-hearted portrait of Agnes in all her maddening glory. As a result, this overwhelmingly vivid novel is not just an accomplished debut. It also feels like a moving act of filial reverence.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarThe New York Review, James Walton (Aug 20, 2020)
 
... his novel is resolutely, wonderfully Scottish at heart ... such a delight. 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. This is a memorable book about family, violence and sexuality ... Agnes is drawn with extraordinary sympathy: she simply leaps from the page as she juggles motherhood, a violent and philandering husband and her own demons, drink foremost among them. She is troubled, lovable, vulnerable and resilient ... This is a deeply political novel, one about the impact of Thatcherism on Glaswegian society ... It is brilliant on the shame of poverty and the small, necessary dignities that keep people going. It is heartbreakingly good on childhood and Shuggie’s growing sense of his otherness, of not being the same as the other boys on the estate ... Douglas Stuart has written a first novel of rare and lasting beauty.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarThe Guardian (UK), Alex Preston (Aug 9, 2020)
 
With his exquisitely detailed debut novel, Douglas Stuart has given Glasgow something of what James Joyce gave to Dublin. Every city needs a book like Shuggie Bain, one where the powers of description are so strong you can almost smell the chip-fat and pub-smoke steaming from its pages, and hear the particular, localized slang ringing in your ears.... Agnes...is the real heroine of this story, so evocative and striking that she may be one of those characters you never forget. Stuart writes about Shuggie, a lonely, loving boy struggling with his sexuality, with skill. But the depiction pales in comparison to the sheer, knock-out force of what he managed to create with Agnes ... Shuggie Bain is full of people doing and saying awful things to one another all the time, but nobody really seems truly awful. Maybe this is what makes the novel so powerful and sad—it turns over the ugly side of humanity to find the softness and the beauty underneath.
adicionada por Lemeritus | editarJacobin, Eliza Gearty (Mar 16, 2020)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (1 possível)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Stuart, Douglasautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Coulson, JezArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
King, AngusNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Pickersgill, MartynAuthor photographautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Vries, Willemijn deNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Wilson, StuartDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado

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Fiction. Literature. This is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Thatcher's policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light but a burden for him and his siblings. She dreams of a house with its own front door while she flicks through the pages of the Freemans catalogue, ordering a little happiness on credit, anything to brighten up her grey life. Married to a philandering taxi-driver husband, Agnes keeps her pride by looking good??her beehive, make-up, and pearly-white false teeth offer a glamourous image of a Glaswegian Elizabeth Taylor. But under the surface, Agnes finds increasing solace in drink, and she drains away the lion's share of each week's benefits??all the family has to live on??on cans of extra-strong lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Agnes's older children find their own ways to get a safe distance from their mother, abandoning Shuggie to care for her as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety. Meanwhile, Shuggie is struggling to somehow become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, but everyone has realized that he is "no right," a boy with a secret that all but him can see. Agnes is supportive of her son, but her addiction has the power to eclipse everyone close to her??even her beloved Shuggie. A heartbreaking story of addiction, sexuality, and love, Shuggie Bain is an epic portrayal of a working-class family that is rarely seen

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