The modest indie just got a groundswell of support at a time when other would-be contenders are struggling to break through. Scotland’s most famous exports are whiskey and textiles — one being self-evidently more appealing than the other — and Stuart had learned the basics of knitting at his mother’s knee. It is a novel that seems almost more comfortable in a previous century than in our own — no metafictional contortions, no genre-dabbling, no M.F.A.-burnished shine. Maybe the book was always a bit of a tough sell here. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light b Shuggie Bain is telling a marginalised, untold story. Stuart’s world is a place of unrelenting, visceral darkness. It took a while, but the bet paid off. “I think that’s the highest accolade.” Not everyone has the stomach for it. “Americans tell you everything about them. Too ugly to look at, too uncomfortable to even comprehend. Shuggie Bain is a novel that cracks open the human coronary heart, brings you inside, tears you up, and brings you up, with its episodes of unvarnished love, loss, survival and sorrow. Shuggie himself is a “not right” child, an effeminate boy living with his alcoholic mother, mostly near some shut coal mines in Glasgow. Shuggie Bain A Novel (Book) : Stuart, Douglas : "Shuggie Bain is the unforgettable story of young Hugh "Shuggie" Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. How would she feel to be refracted into Agnes Bain, whose pride was her calling card, whose illness was her downfall? nothing can compare with the Irish version: the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters.”. Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, CBS Delay TV Production in Los Angeles. Stuart was the youngest child (as Shuggie is) of an alcoholic mother, besotted with her own Elizbeth Taylor fantasies (as Agnes is). “If you’ve ever loved someone with addiction,” he said, “you’ve developed a lot of strategies to save them from themselves and also to protect yourself. Shuggie Bain is an accomplished work of fiction, but it also carries the charge of raw truth. “We need to talk,” he tells his mother, Agnes, when the family moves to a sooty mining village on the outskirts of Glasgow. Shuggie’s sexual awakening as a young gay man is woven deftly into the plot, strengthening his bond with Agnes while leaving him friendless at school and exposed on the city’s mean streets. Winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart is a heart-wrenching tale of childhood in Scotland in the 1980’s amongst addiction, poverty and sexuality. Shuggie Bain is 5, prissy and precise. Shuggie Bain is heavily autobiographical: Stuart has spoken about his mother’s alcoholism and the gruelling experience of growing up as a gay man in 1980s Glasgow (Shuggie is gay, too, and the target of homophobic bullying).The relationship between mother and son, perhaps because it is so close to Stuart’s heart, has an overwhelming intensity of feeling. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. $27) “Shuggie Bain” is Douglas Stuart’s first novel, as intense and excruciating to read as any novel I have ever held in my hand. ( Log Out /  But to study literature was class-inflected in the U.K. and doubly so in impoverished Scotland, where, as Stuart recalled, “even the word English is quite dangerous on the streets of the south side of Glasgow.” A trade was safer. He dropped his new single, and its accompanying video, at midnight. 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. Shuggie Bain A Novel (Book) : Stuart, Douglas : WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD Shuggie Bain 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. Explained: This year’s Booker Prize-winning novel Shuggie Bain, and its debutant author Douglas Stuart Shuggie Bain is an autobiographical novel set in Glasgow in the 1980s. . Shuggie Bain is an accomplished work of fiction, but it also carries the charge of raw truth. Morally and ethically, education is an act of liberation that must transcend the structures that result in compliance. Shuggie is a diminutive form of the English name Hugh. And so I used to sit down and I would say, ‘Let me write your book.’ And she would love that.” They never got farther than the dedication: To Elizabeth Taylor, who thinks she does, but knows nothing about the cruelties of love. The success of Shuggie Bain inaugurated a new chapter of Stuart’s life, unrecognizable to the young boy he was in Glasgow’s public housing. … In her New York Times review of the Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize-winning novel, Shuggie Bain, Leah Hager Cohen observes that “the book would be just about unbearable were it not for the author’s astonishing capacity for love… He shows us lots of monstrous behavior, but not a single monster — only damage. When it was submitted to publishing houses, Shuggie Bain was rejected over and over. But most of all Shuggie Bain is a fat doorstop trudge of perseverance through the alcoholic grimness of poverty and addiction. The journey began in a childhood similar to that of Shuggie Bain’s hero: the novel is set predominantly in working-class Glasgow in the 1980s. None of these were quite the thing for an effeminate, much-harassed young man, who had come to realize, as Shuggie also would, that he was gay. Shuggie's mother Agnes walks a wayward path: she is Shuggie's guiding light b See also the related category germanic (german). The book kicks off with Shuggie Bain, a 16 year old boy, and the protagonist who lives in a dirty bedsit on the Southside of Glasgow, Scotland and working on a supermarket deli counter. “I admire things that are unflinching,” Stuart said. A bevy of shows set to resume production on January 4 have been delayed due to surging COVID-19 cases in L.A. County. This was not the plan for Shuggie Bain and its first-time novelist, Douglas Stuart, but this is the year of not-as-planned. And then, with Oxonian tact, “Luckily, I got to be the only person who, I guess, felt quite that way.”. There’s a sort of a pressure on working-class stories to not tell the truth with too much reality.” He spoke of a middle-class gaze that believes it is owed a happy ending or, at least, to be let off the hook for its silent complicity. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Shuggie Bain Summary This is a story about poverty, addiction and abuse. ( Log Out /  In her New York Times review of the Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize-winning novel, Shuggie Bain, Leah Hager Cohen observes that “the book would be just about unbearable were it not for the author’s astonishing capacity for love… He shows us lots of monstrous behavior, but not a … “Rain was a natural state of Glasgow. Thatcher's policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. All rights reserved. The New York Times. For Stuart, who had spent ten years chipping away at a draft at nights, on weekends, on planes, and in foreign hotel rooms on monthly business trips, it was the undreamt-of realization of a long-deferred dream. 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. She read Shuggie Bain before he even looked for an agent and gave her blessing. A master’s degree in menswear at the Royal College of Art in London followed. At 43 — he’s since turned 44 — 20 years into a career as a fashion designer, a trade he learned as a way out of the Glasgow tenement where he, like Shuggie, spent a misfit youth, he was an author at last. Mariah Beams In From Winter Wonderland to Remind You She Also. Stuart wrote Shuggie Bain over 10 years, its long gestation period due in part to the difficulty of finding time to write outside his high-pressure day job. Stuart wrote Shuggie Bain over 10 years, its long gestation period due in part to the difficulty of finding time to write outside his high-pressure day job. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Shuggie Bain will shape how Glasgow is seen, and inevitably, how it chooses to see itself. Stuart began 2020 with as many good omens as a writer could wish for: a story published in The New Yorker in January (his first-ever published piece of fiction), good reviews all around for Shuggie Bain on arrival in February. “And then, the other day, she said, ‘Actually, it was 32 times.’”, But the book has always had its supporters. Should schools not ultimately be places that demonstrate a capacity for care, for love? Although Shuggie Bain is not an autobiography, it borrows heavily from Douglas’ life. In her New York Times review of the Douglas Stuart, Booker Prize-winning novel, Shuggie Bain, Leah Hager Cohen observes that “the book would be just about unbearable were it not for the author’s astonishing capacity for love… He shows us lots of monstrous behavior, but not a … He’s there and not there. Shuggie Bainis 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. He was encouraged by teachers to read Armistead Maupin and Tennessee Williams. “I think my mother felt so unseen in life,” he said. Scott Rudin and Eli Bush will produce. The characters in “Shuggie Bain” are remarkable. And so I just went into a period of resetting my expectations, grieving a little bit.”. The novel is dedicated to his late mother, referenced respectfully only as AED. It’s simply unpossible.” Shuggie abhors everything that he deems “common”; he’s the type to stamp his wee foot. How far can you go to save the person you love before you have to save yourself? It was smirring grayly on the East Village terrace café where we were sitting, and suddenly, as we sat and talked, out of nowhere, a patio umbrella broke free of its mooring and crashed onto the sidewalk. *A version of this article appears in the November 9, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Thatcher's policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. I felt almost bereft finishing the poignant story of Shuggie and his troubled mother. “I think my mother would be thrilled.”. Their resilience, their very survival comes despite those who should know better. Shuggie Bain A Novel (eBook) : Stuart, Douglas : Shuggie Bain 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. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. He has only one sibling left living, a sister in Glasgow. While chatting with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen on CNN’s NYE. The Booker Prize-winning novel Shuggie Bain is set to be turned into a TV series after big-name American producers snapped up the rights to adapt the Glasgow-set book. “Americans express themselves,” he said. Just ordered Shuggie Bain. If he has a sharp eye for brokenness, he is even keener on the inextinguishable flicker of love that remains.”. They’re always everywhere. You little bender.” It got a cackling laugh from the other boys.”. Stuart, Douglas. Subscribe Now! There’s no question that it is a great achievement. A view of Glasgow at once panoramic and claustrophobic; a moving portrayal not just of addiction, but of the desperate, enabling actions of those who love addicts, and who depend upon addicts for love. Already a subscriber? Before then, he’ll dust off the tux for all-virtual National Book Award and Booker ceremonies, where the winners will be announced on November 18 and 19, realizing he is a few pandemic-pounds heavier than the last time he put it on. Oscar Futures: Could the Globes Controversy Benefit. (His second novel, which he has recently completed, is a romance between two boys on opposite sides of sectarian violence in 1990s Scotland.) “My agent told me it was 20 times,” he said. The agonies of 1980s Scotland — riven by unemployment; the erosion of industries like shipbuilding, mining, and ironworking; and a guttering recession – are very real, but, outside maybe Trainspotting, these struggles are hardly well known in the U.S. 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. Thatcher's policies have put husbands and sons out … Justin Bieber Enters 2021 By Entering the Ring In His New ‘Anyone’ Video. Stuart’s agent is Anna Stein, who represents Ben Lerner and Hanya Yanagihara; when he got 33rd-time lucky, it was with Peter Blackstock, a young English editor at Grove, whose other authors include Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Pulitzer-winning author of The Sympathizer, and Bernardine Evaristo, whose Girl, Woman, Other won the Booker last year. Shuggie might have slipped unnoticed into obscurity, one of the many worthy titles that fails to find a crowd in the absence of a celebrity book-club plumping or prestige-television acquisition. Shuggie Bain 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. They are poor, oppressed, often mean and often drunk. Thatcher's war on heavy industry has put husbands and sons out of work, and the city's notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. Cohen, Leah Hager. Its backdrop is a … Thatcher’s policies have put husbands and sons out of work, and the city’s notorious drugs epidemic is waiting in the wings. And so it sort of was — swallowed up is the best way to say it. Shuggie Bain. With the exception of Shuggie, and to some extent his brother, Leek, the characters in Shuggie Bain are frequently selfish and relentlessly mean. Stuart’s relatives were all working men: His uncle a slater (what we would call a roofer), his brother a joiner (a woodworker), his brother-in-law a shipbuilder. Shuggie Bain is not a memoir, but the parallels between author and subject are many. View be.linkedin.com/in/mikecrowley1’s profile on LinkedIn, “In 1980s Glasgow, a World of Pain Made Bearable by Love”, Shuggie Bain and the Illusion of Trying Harder, Agile Schools and the Possibility of Different Endings, Swimming Against the Tide: Transforming Learning Culture. His family smells his inevitable truth, powerless as they are to stop it. (Books had not been a presence in the houses he grew up in; he remembered only a copy of V.C. It seems apt to compare Stuart’s novel to Frank McCourt’s earlier memoir, Angela’s Ashes. Growing up, he had worn clothes out of catalogues that his mother had purchased on layaway. It looked like the worst bar mitzvah ever. It is not ranked within the top 1000 names. “Maybe it was my mother reaching out.”, Reaching out to say what? And he is Scottish enough to have checked Ladbrokes’ Booker odds — the British will bet on anything — and he is not the favorite to win. Shuggie Bain is, in general, a bleak portrayal of working-class Scottish life. 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