Selected as one of The Oprah Daily's Best Books of 2022
From Booker-prizewinner Douglas Stuart an extraordinary, page-turning second novel, a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James.
Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in the hyper-masculine and violently sectarian world of Glasgow's housing estates. They should be sworn enemies if they're to be seen as men at all, and yet they become best friends as they find a sanctuary in the pigeon dovecote that James has built for his prize racing birds. As they find themselves falling in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo works especially hard to hide his true self from all those around him, especially from his elder brother Hamish, a local gang leader with a brutal reputation to uphold.
But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. When 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 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 literary fiction, Douglas Stuart's Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the bounds of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by so many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE ABIA INTERNATIONAL BOOK OF THE YEAR 2023
PRAISE FOR YOUNG MUNGO
'I wasn't sure Young Mungo could live up to Shuggie Bain, but it surpasses it. Deeply harrowing but gently infused with hope & love. And so exquisitely written. It's a joy to watch, in real time, as Douglas Stuart takes his place as one of the greats of Scottish literature.' Nicola Sturgeon
'Few novels are as gutsy and gut-wrenching as Young Mungo in its depiction of a teenage boy who finds love amid family dysfunction, community conflict and the truly terrible predations of adults. Vividly realised and emotionally intense, this scorching novel is an urgent addition to the new canon of unsung stories.' Bernardine Evaristo
'I can honestly say that the second novel from the author of Shuggie Bain... surpassed my (high) expectations. Stuart makes you care deeply about all of his characters but none more than Mungo, Mo-Maw's beloved, "the softest, sweetest boy she had ever known".' - Bookseller, 'Fiction Book of the Month'
'Prepare your hearts, for Douglas Stuart is back... Another beautiful and moving book' -Observer
'Again this author creates characters so vivid, dilemmas so heart-rending, and dialogue so brilliant that the whole thing sucks you in like a vacuum cleaner... Romantic, terrifying, brutal, tender, and, in the end, sneakily hopeful. What a writer.' - Kirkus Reviews
'There are wonderful stories in publishing, but the story of Douglas Stuart is pure magic... With Young Mungo... more magic is all but guaranteed... The book is a literary wonder and a suspenseful page-turner.' - Publishers' Weekly