Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart – Our Review
Be awed by the beauty and intensity of Young Mungo, Douglas Stuart’s powerful new novel that follows his debut novel Shuggie Bain – winner of the Booker Prize for Fiction in 2020.
Mungo grows up in a dangerous Glaswegian neighbourhood rife with sectarian violence between the “Prodders” and the “Fenians”. He lives with his beloved older sister Jodie, who is bright and loving and desperate to escape the estates and his bruising older brother Hamish – known as ‘Ha-Ha’, who is the leader of one of the wild Protestant gangs who rob and menace young Catholics. Their father is long dead and their mother- whom they call ‘Mo-Maw’, is both charming and calculating. She leaves the children and vanishes for weeks at a time on alcoholic benders.
Into this brutal world we meet young Mungo, a charming, quietly spoken boy beset with a nervous tic. He is loved by many and despised by just as many as being weak. He is a boy who feels the harsh edges of life a bit too much. Mungo will need all his wits and inner strength to survive and find love and hope in this hyper-vigilant world of tough masculinity, sectarian violence and rampant alcoholism.
Full of both hope and foreboding, like Shuggie Bain the writing in Young Mungo is exquisite, however I think this is a far finer novel, the characters are more humane, with even the most unlikable characters fully realised with many shades of light and grey. A magnificent read that will inspire and also greatly pull at your heartstrings.
Review by Nicole @ Great Escape Books