Young Mungo (Hardcover)
Stuart’s debut novel, Shuggie Bain, won the Booker Prize. That book, which I haven’t read, focuses on the relationship between a gay teenage boy from Glasgow, and his alcoholic mother. In Young Mungo, 15-year-old Mungo Hamilton lives with his family in government housing in Glasgow. His mother, an alcoholic, drops in occasionally. Stuart does an excellent job of portraying Mungo and his siblings and how they are forced to deal with their mother, who was widowed while she was pregnant with Mungo. But the central relationship in this book is between Mungo and James, a Catholic boy who lives in the same housing project as Mungo and is also realizing he, like Mungo, is gay.
Mungo’s Glasgow that Stuart paints is bleak. But the characters are so well developed that it’s easy to root for Mungo, James, Mungo’s family, and Mungo’s neighbors because they all display bursts of humanity, despite the terrible circumstances. The sense of hopefulness is evident throughout this novel, in the parts both light and dark, and the ending is artfully vague enough to reaffirm that.
— From Mimetic March Staff Picks
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“A truly devastating story told in decadent, layered prose. You cannot help but to love and want the best for Mungo in the hyper-masculine, violent world he lives in. I want to protect these characters and their love with all that I have.”
— Mallory Melton, BookPeople, Austin, TX
A story of queer love and working-class families, Young Mungo is the brilliant second novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie BainDouglas Stuart's first novel Shuggie Bain, winner of the 2020 Booker Prize, is one of the most successful literary debuts of the century so far. Published or forthcoming in forty territories, it has sold more than one million copies worldwide. Now Stuart returns with Young Mungo, his extraordinary second novel. Both a page-turner and literary tour de force, it is a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a deeply moving and highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men.Growing up in a housing estate in Glasgow, Mungo and James are born under different stars--Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic--and they should be sworn enemies if they're to be seen as men at all. Yet against all odds, they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they fall in love, they dream of finding somewhere they belong, while Mungo works hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his big brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold. And when several months later Mungo's mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland with two strange men whose drunken banter belies murky pasts, he will need to summon all his inner strength and courage to try to get back to a place of safety, a place where he and James might still have a future.Imbuing the everyday world of its characters with rich lyricism and giving full voice to people rarely acknowledged in the literary world, Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the bounds of masculinity, the divisions of sectarianism, the violence faced by many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.
About the Author
DOUGLAS STUART is a Scottish-American author. His New York Times-bestselling debut novel Shuggie Bain won the 2020 Booker Prize and the Sue Kaufman Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It was the winner of two British Book Awards, including Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, PEN/Hemingway Award, National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize, Kirkus Prize, as well as several other literary awards. Stuart's writing has appeared in the New Yorker and Literary Hub.