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Shuggie Bain - Douglas Stuart

Shuggie Bain - Douglas Stuart

Apologies in advance, but we’re limiting orders for this debut novel and Booker Prize contender to 1 copy a household.

Title: Shuggie Bain

Author:  Douglas Stuart

ISBN:  9781529019278

Weight:  990g

Signed first edition, first printing



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Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

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.

Peer & Press Reviews

Shuggie Bain is an intimate and frighteningly acute exploration of a mother-son relationship and a masterful portrait of alcoholism in Scottish working class life, rendered with old-school lyrical realism.  Stuart is a writer who genuinely loves his characters and makes them unforgettable and touching even when they’re at their worst.  He’s also just a beautiful writer; I kept being reminded of Joyce’s Dubliners.  I loved this book.

Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens

The way Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting carved a permanent place in our heads and hearts for the junkies of late-1980s Edinburgh, the language, imagery, and story of fashion designer Stuart’s debut novel apotheosizes the life of the Bain family of Glasgow…  Readers may get through the whole novel without breaking down – then read the first sentence of the acknowledgements and lose it.  The emotional truth embodied here will crack you open.  You will never forget Shuggie Bain.  Scene by scene, this book is a masterpiece.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

This is a panoramic portrait of both a family and a place, and Stuart steeps us fully in the grim decline of the Thatcher years: cheap booze, closed pits and lives lived on tick…  Tender and unsentimental – a rare trick – and the Billy Elliot-ish character of Shuggie, when he does take the floor, leaps off the page.

Stephanie Cross, Daily Mail

Bibliographic Info

TitleShuggie Bain
Book Features
Edition / printingFirst edition, first printing
Edition backgroundPicador first published this title as a paperback original on 20 February 2020.
Jacket noteThese copies have a first state jacket, i.e. no reference to the book being longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize.
Overall conditionFine / Fine (see our article on Condition Grades)
SignedOn a signature page, tipped-in before the title page.
(Printed on this page is the the title, and the phrase ‘Signed by the author’.)
Awards and Media
Awards and prizes

Booker Prize 2020 – longlist

Center for Fiction 2020 – longlist (first novel)

Book Stats
PublisherPan Macmillan
Publication date
Printed byCPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon
ISBN 139781529019278
ISBN 101529019273
FormatHardcover with dust jacket
Size (h x w x d)241 x 161 x 41mm
Packed weight1.063kg [heavy book]
Image and Design Credits
Author photographMartyn Pickersgill
Jacket imageJez Coulson / Insight Visual

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