Arts & Leisure

Book review: Shuggie Bain — by Douglas Stuart

(Grove Press)
A decade in the childhood of Hugh Bain, called Shuggie, son of Shug Bain, hackney driver, and Agnes Bain, in decaying public housing, framed by year and locale, is rich with empathy and love, a seemingly unending capacity for love. It’s no mystery why this novel, set in 1980s Glasgow, Scotland and a first novel for its author, Douglas Stuart, is garnering accolades and appearing on the shortlist for such notable prizes as the Booker Prize, the National Book Award, and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Stuart skillfully weaves the stories of this family, three generations, together, with strategic flashbacks, truly cinematic descriptions of place, and brilliantly telling details that reveal the depths of these characters. The image of bleak peakbogs and spoil tips — the mounds of accumulated waste material removed during mining — surrounding the Pithead miners’ housing, lit by colorless daylight, will lodge in your head. Agnes Bain, although an incurable alcoholic, mother of three, blazes as one heart of the novel, and Shuggie, though only nine or ten, cares for her deeply, as best as he can and for as long as he can, is the other. Together they try for new beginnings, but as Shuggie acutely notes, “nobody would get to be made brand new.” 
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.

9 Lauded Novels Spotlighting Social Conditions
The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
The Beans of Egypt, Maine, by Carolyn Chute
Incendiary, by Chris Cleave
Swimming in the Dark, by Tomasz Jedrowski
Trainspotting, by Irvine Welsh
The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith
Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward

Share this story:

More News
Arts & Leisure

Homeward Bound learns lessons from The Cat Daddy

Homeward Bound, Addison County’s Humane Society, had what Director of Development Hannah M … (read more)

Arts & Leisure

Local artists with family ties exhibit at Jackson Gallery

‏Mary and Fred Lower are spouses who share a painting studio in Middlebury. Cousins Judy A … (read more)

Arts & Leisure

Otter Creek Music Festival brings free concerts and more

Originally known as the Salisbury Summer Series, established by architectural historian an … (read more)

Share this story: