The Booker Prize
Winner of the Booker Prize 2020
Winner of 'Book of the Year' at the British Book Awards 2021
Winner of 'Debut of the Year' at the British Book Awards 2021
A BBC 'Big Jubilee Read'
'A heartbreaking novel' – The Times
'An amazingly intimate, compassionate, gripping portrait of addiction, courage and love.' – The judges of the Booker Prize
'Tender and unsentimental . . . The Billy Elliot-ish character of Shuggie . . . leaps off the page.' – Daily Mail
'Douglas Stuart has written a first novel of rare and lasting beauty.' – Observer
It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life, dreaming of greater things. But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and 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, he is clearly 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.
Shuggie Bain lays bare the ruthlessness of poverty, the limits of love, and the hollowness of pride. For readers of Hanya Yanagihara, Emma Donoghue, Alan Hollinghurst and Frank McCourt, it is a heartbreaking novel by a brilliant writer with a powerful and important story to tell.
A heartbreaking novel, a book both beautiful and brutal . . . All that grief and sadness and misery has been turned into something tough, tender and beautifully sad.
Leaves us gutted and marvelling: Life may be short, but it takes forever.
New York Times
I think it’s the best first book I’ve read in many years.
Karl Ove Knausgård, Guardian