• The Dabblers

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart


Queen's Gambit Walter Tevis

Finally we've started Series 3!!!


Booker-winning Shuggie Bain packs some serious punches and isn't for the fainthearted - as you can tell from the pearl-clutchers in the one-star Amazon reviews.


Shuggie Bain tells the story of a young Shuggie and his alcoholic mother in benefits-class Glasgow.


This book resonated with both of us in many different ways as it brought to mind life on council estates, conflicted feelings towards troubled parents and how much fucked up shit money can actually shield you from.


The one-star reviews really deliver this week and Haj's Mum would like to point out she doesn't actually use the C-word...


The paperback's out in April and we recommend you give it a read.



Publisher’s Blurb

Winner of the Booker Prize 2020 Shortlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction 2020 A BBC Radio 2 Between the Covers 2021 Book Choice 'We were bowled over by this first novel, which creates an amazingly intimate, compassionate, gripping portrait of addiction, courage and love.' The judges of the Booker Prize '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. 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 Edouard Louis, Frank McCourt, and Hanya Yanagihara, a blistering debut by a brilliant writer with a powerful and important story to tell.

Read the book, listen to the podcast, and tell us what you think.