Monday, December 28, 2020

Shuggie Bain

Shuggie BainShuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"They were suspicious of this woman who wore lipstick in the early morning and unchipped nail polish the color of sex."
Five stars for the writing, the characterizations (especially mother and son) and the story. Beautiful but bleak, I slowed down mid-book for a time (holidays), but was soon under the Douglas Stuart spell again. My empathy was with little Shuggie abandoned by all to pursue his loyal love for his wasted, alcoholic mammy. The portrayal of public housing tenants in the Galway suburbs is raw with cruelty and need. The men have lost their jobs and drink, fight and fuck away their frustrations. The women scrabble and gossip while trying to feed their too-many babies. Shuggie Bain's mother Beautiful Agnes drinks up everything - food, filial love, belongings and men. But throughout the reader cares about these folks, their dismal stories with flashes of humor, and stays with them throughout the book for its exquisite language and train wreck of a tale, thankful that the author persevered for ten years and thirty rejections toward his Booker prize.

View all my reviews

No comments :