“Flames are not just the end, they are also the beginning. For everything that you have destroyed can be rebuilt. From your own ashes you can grow again.”
Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain
The winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, Douglas Stuart’s stunning debut novel Shuggie Bain is a heartbreaking, unforgettable story of alcoholism, sexuality, and love—an epic portrayal of a working-class family that is rarely seen in fiction.
Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, a sweet and lonely boy who spends his 1980s childhood in run-down public housing in Glasgow, Scotland. Shuggie’s mother Agnes responds to poverty and the philandering of her taxi-driver husband with the solace of drink – cans of lager hidden in handbags and poured into tea mugs. Abandoned by his father and older siblings, Shuggie cares for Agnes as she swings between alcoholic binges and sobriety while he struggles to become the normal boy he desperately longs to be, instead of a boy with a secret that all but he can see.
Douglas Stuart was born and raised in Glasgow. After graduating from the Royal College of Art in London, he moved to New York City, where he began a career in fashion design. Shuggie Bain is his first novel.
Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2021
KCRW’s Bookworm Podcast, November 26, 2020
The Irish Times, November 24, 2020
“We were bowled over by this first novel, which creates an amazingly intimate, compassionate, gripping portrait of addiction, courage and love. The book gives a vivid glimpse of a marginalised, impoverished community in a bygone era of British history. It’s a desperately sad, almost-hopeful examination of family and the destructive powers of desire.”