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Young Mungo (2022)

by Douglas Stuart

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3451865,283 (4.34)28
"Douglas Stuart's first novel Shuggie Bain is one of the most successful literary debuts of the century so far. It was awarded the 2020 Booker Prize, and is now published or forthcoming in forty territories, having already sold more than a million copies worldwide. Now Stuart returns with Young Mungo, his extraordinary second novel. Five years in the writing, it is both a page-turner and literary tour de force, a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a deeply moving and highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James. Born under different stars-Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic-they should be sworn enemies if they're to be seen as men at all. Their environment is a hyper-masculine and sectarian one, for gangs of young men and the violence they might dole out dominate the Glaswegian estate where they live. And yet against all odds Mungo and James 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. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. And when several months later Mungo's mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland, together 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 push and pull of family, the violence faced by many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much"--… (more)
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» See also 28 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Heartbreakingly beautiful. I will read everything Stuart writes and I am almost never devoted to any author. ( )
  paroof | Nov 25, 2022 |
Read the Harvard Book Store First Edition Club edition. I ended up caring about Young Mungo much more than I thought it would given the setup. I am not sure how I feel about the novel as a whole - like if I see someone kicking a dog I will feel bad and try to intervene, but not feel thankful about it afterwards. I didn't gain any insights through reading this, and mostly wanted to avert my eyes.

Also, please stop with the needless discordant timelines - it adds nothing and only confuses the reader. ( )
  kcshankd | Oct 11, 2022 |
Mungo is a boy of 15 years old who lives in a poor neighborhood of Glasgow, Scotland, with his single mother and his two siblings.

Mungo is gay and does not know how to channel his feelings in the hostile environment he is living in where strong masculinity is what boys and men must define, and anything different is looked down upon. His alcoholic mother sends him on a camping trip with two men she doesn’t really know, to “make a man” of him. Things go horribly wrong.

This novel is a dark story, a fast paced page turner with just a small sliver of brightness in all its darkness. But I loved reading it, Stuart writes exceptionally well and doesn’t use too heavy language to paint a believable harsh environment. I could have done with his sometimes overdone comparative sentences like “a yellowed skin like old paint on a kitchen wall” or “they had sprayed such a thick layer of deodorant that it slithered like whipped cream under their armpits” (translation by me) but this story is overall so good that it’s a forgivable flaw imo.
  leoslittlebooklife | Sep 20, 2022 |
“Mungo’s capacity for love frustrated her. His loving wasn’t selflessness; he simply could not help it. Mo-Maw needed so little and he produced so much. So that it all seemed a horrible waste. It was a harvest no one seeded, and it blossomed from a vine no one tended.”

Mungo is a fifteen-year old boy, growing up in Glasgow. To say he has a rough childhood would be a wild understatement- He has an unstable, alcoholic mother and a domineering, abusive older brother. Mungo, a protestant, is also attracted to a Catholic neighbor boy, which is verboten in Scotland at that time. This is not an easy read. It can be relentlessly bleak at times but the writing is terrific and the reader can not help but cheering this poor boy on, despite the myriad of obstacles thrown in his way. I adored Stuart’s last novel, Shuggie Bain and with his latest, he has proven to be a new force in the literary world. ( )
  msf59 | Aug 14, 2022 |
In the opening pages of this book, 15-year-old Mungo Hamilton is on a bus with two men who are taking him on a fishing trip. This is no fun-filled holiday; it’s immediately clear the expedition is doomed from the start. Why is Mungo there? Who are these men? Before this can be explained, we are taken to a point in time six months earlier.

Mungo is the youngest child of three children. His mother, Maureen, is only in her mid-30s but alcoholism and poverty have taken away any hope of a stable and happy life. Mungo’s older brother Hamish lives with his girlfriend and their baby daughter, and is the leader of a prominent gang of Protestant youths. Mungo’s sister Jodie is close to finishing secondary school and hopes to attend university. She worries about where that would leave Mungo, since Maureen is prone to disappearing for days on end. Mungo is a loner with several emotional and mental health issues, and is devoted to his mother despite her neglect. One day Mungo meets James, a Catholic boy his age who, like Mungo, is often left on his own. As their friendship develops into something more, they attract unwanted attention, both for daring to love another boy, and for crossing religious lines.

The narrative moves back and forth between the fishing trip, which just gets more horrific, and Mungo’s daily life on the housing estate, which grows increasingly violent. While well-written, this makes for very difficult reading. The novel ends with a shred of hope for Mungo, but at significant cost. ( )
  lauralkeet | Jul 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
For the poor, undereducated, underemployed characters of Douglas Stuart’s novels, late-20th-century Glasgow is a bleak world that is getting bleaker all the time. Each of his two novels thus far focuses on the dynamics of a single family living in a Glasgow devastated by the privatization schemes that collapsed Scottish industry under Margaret Thatcher.
added by bergs47 | editThe Atlantic, Claire Jarvis (Jul 12, 2022)
 
The key event is Mungo’s encounter during the winter half-term break with James Jamieson, a slightly older Catholic boy who keeps a dovecote near the grounds of the housing scheme where they live.
added by bergs47 | editThe Guardian, Leo Robson (Apr 6, 2022)
 
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Voor Alexander en alle zachtmoedige zonen van Glasgow
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"Douglas Stuart's first novel Shuggie Bain is one of the most successful literary debuts of the century so far. It was awarded the 2020 Booker Prize, and is now published or forthcoming in forty territories, having already sold more than a million copies worldwide. Now Stuart returns with Young Mungo, his extraordinary second novel. Five years in the writing, it is both a page-turner and literary tour de force, a vivid portrayal of working-class life and a deeply moving and highly suspenseful story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James. Born under different stars-Mungo a Protestant and James a Catholic-they should be sworn enemies if they're to be seen as men at all. Their environment is a hyper-masculine and sectarian one, for gangs of young men and the violence they might dole out dominate the Glaswegian estate where they live. And yet against all odds Mungo and James 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. But the threat of discovery is constant and the punishment unspeakable. And when several months later Mungo's mother sends him on a fishing trip to a loch in Western Scotland, together 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 push and pull of family, the violence faced by many queer people, and the dangers of loving someone too much"--

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