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Publisher's Summary

The extraordinary, powerful second novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain, Young Mungo is both a vivid portrayal of working-class life and the deeply moving story of the dangerous first love of two young men: Mungo and James.

Born under different stars, Protestant Mungo and Catholic James live in a hyper-masculine world. They are caught between two of Glasgow’s housing estates where young working-class men divide themselves along sectarian lines, and fight territorial battles for the sake of reputation. 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 doocot that James has built for his prize racing pigeons. As they begin to fall in love, they dream of escaping the grey city, and Mungo must work 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 behind whose drunken banter lie murky pasts, he needs 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, Douglas Stuart’s Young Mungo is a gripping and revealing story about the meaning of masculinity, the push and pull of family, the violence faced by so many queer people and the dangers of loving someone too much.

©2022 Douglas Stuart (P)2022 Macmillan Publishers International Limited

Critic Reviews

"Prepare your hearts, for Douglas Stuart is back. After the extraordinary success of Shuggie Bain, his second novel, Young Mungo, is another beautiful and moving book, a gay Romeo and Juliet set in the brutal world of Glasgow’s housing estates." (Observer

What listeners say about Young Mungo

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Amazing. Absolutely Breathtaking

Stop browsing and listen to this book NOW!Wow. What a story!
I heard Young Mungo was good but I had no idea it would be SO good! Douglas Stuart weaves a gritty tale that you are sure to fall in love with. More than once throughout the book I had to remind myself that this was fiction and not non-fiction. The characters are so real and the setting is so well described, it’s like living in 1980s Glasgow. An absolutely superb read, perfect for fans of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and even Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles. Listen to it now, you will not be disappointed!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eve
  • 04-18-22

Excellent

Another raw and evocative tale. Moving and completly immersive. I'm sure Stuart's books speak particularly to anyone who grew up in that environment in the Glasgow area, but anyone who experienced any kind of difficult childhood will find much to connect with in the emotion and pull of family, no matter what that family consists of.
This book ofcourse touches on homophobia, but it really doesn't feel like the main theme of the book as such at all.
Anyone who wouldn't be particularly interested in a 'gay themed' book should not be put off, its very much character and plot driven. I say that just because I worry heterosexuals might be less inclined to choose to read a book with a gay leading character? Perhaps/hopefully I'm wrong on that, but I don't want anyone to pass this by thinking it might be a schmaltzy Brokenack Mountain affair!
I'm not especially keen on lots of sex scenes of any kind in books really if it's gratuitous, but it certainly doesn't feel this way in this book. This is a young boy discovering his burgeoning sensuality amd falling in love for the first time, in a world where he is shamed for it. There is much tenderness.
I would very much like to meet these characters again down the road.
Be warned there is description of child abuse, neglect, addiction, violence and discrimination.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Duska
  • 04-18-22

Phenomenonal!

Even better than Shugie Bain! Heartbreaking in every way, but beautifully and artistically crafted.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Darren King
  • 04-17-22

Phenomenal

This is arguably one of the best books I have ever read/listened to.
In and if it’s own right it is an incredible piece of literature which paints a harrowing picture of growing up different in a society that embraces and rewards the stereotyped definition of masculinity.
It threads together two temporally dissociated narratives about the protagonist with utter perfection, until such threading culminates in a perfect, bleak, but hopeful picture of Young Mungo.
Moreover the narrator provides that Glaswegian inflection that would be difficult to mentally cultivate had I read the book as opposed to listening to it on Audible. There is no over-production or forced narration; he reads the book in such a manner as to grip the listener from the very first word until you find yourself holding your breath in anticipation of the last chapter.
Truly, utterly, phenomenal.

5 people found this helpful

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  • karen sinclair
  • 04-17-22

Different but as good as SB

Wonderful descriptive language, plot clever, loved every word. The backdrop of Glasgow, the neglected kids, homophobia everywhere.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-24-22

Beautiful Narration

This book is a little universe in itself. Stunning, immersive storytelling and a fantastic narrator that captures every moment perfectly.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chihuahua Mummy 🐶
  • 04-21-22

Leaves you wanting to hear more…

As it ended, I started looking around, that can’t be right? Aaarrrgghh! I need to know what happens next. This book had me gripped and I’ve listened to it over a couple of days.

The narrator has a very pleasing voice too, which really helps. Excellent book and genius the way they leave you desperate for more.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aidan Fielding
  • 08-13-22

Amazing narration

A dark and brooding book, beautifully narrated but difficult to listen to at times

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  • Matt Belcher
  • 08-12-22

Astonishing and beautiful

Another astonishing novel from Douglas Stuart, this one has its fair share of bleakness but somewhat less so than Shuggie Bain if that was to put you off. Truly one of the best things I've ever read.

The performance felt authentic and did justice to the rich descriptions, and all the regional variances and nuances between characters' accents were perfect.

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  • birdie74
  • 08-12-22

Young Mungo

Shuggie Bain was a tough act to follow, but I absolutely loved this. A gritty, touching and emotional story, brilliantly narrated. 10/10.

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  • Donna
  • 08-12-22

Powerful and moving

This is a raw graphic, yet moving book about young mungo. My heart goes out to every young person who has lived this. 💜 take care readers x

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-12-22

Audio book impossible to understand

I am sure this is a good 👍 book but the audio book version is the worst I have ever come across (and I have listened to many). The Scottish accent doesn't travel well making it limited to Scottish audiences. Accents are beautiful things but there are certain compromises one has to make in the name of communication. A broader international community may be interested in this story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-18-22

Heartwrenching and beautiful

Beautifully written. Real, emotional, raw and violent yet loving and tender. Leaves you panging for more.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-11-22

great once you get the timeline

I first struggled to get into it. the two timeliness were somewhat confusing and took a while to get going. but then it turned into a great story. hard to get used to the Irish accent but once you get used to it it's also really charismatic.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-08-22

Necessarily Brutal

This was so well written and so believable based on stories I’ve heard from how Glasgow used to be. Great story with some unexpected, shocking and dark turns that literally shook me as I listened.

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  • Hobbes
  • 07-03-22

Brutal lives

I read Shuggy Bain first and rate it 5/5. Based on that I read this. There are a lot of similarities in the stories
including the overall depressing lives of the main characters which are very sad. At times i felt the story too repetitive and for last quarter increased narration speed.

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  • Matthew Roberts
  • 06-27-22

Outstanding. Loved it.

I listened to Shuggie Bain and enjoyed it a lot. Young Mungo is a bit different, with different action. The pacing is excellent, the story was strong and the characters were vivid.

Also great narration. One of the best ones over ever listened to on audible.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-26-22

Gritty and unexpected

Great book and fascinating view into Glasgow life at this time. Some happy moments in a sad story and a very unexpected twist or two at the end.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-26-22

Gritty, Heartbreaking

Beautiful writing and it was performed well by the voice actor — he got the Scottish accent and the 'tics' (is that what you call them?) in the voice of Jodie, Mungo's sister quite realistically. Overall, it was an objectively 'good' read though it is not something I would return to... Unless I was writing an essay about it? Again, not because the writing was a trudge (the prose is beautiful, and the narrative is well-crafted) but because the subject matter is so DARK. What might up my rating would be if the author didn't describe the violent scenes so vividly. Admittedly, I found myself skipping past those parts.

I should also mention that it is essentially two 'stories' — we switch between moments from Mungo's tragic life, and a 'camping trip' that goes horribly wrong. Eventually, the two narratives become one — we learn *why* he was made to go on this trip, and his intentions to escape crystallise. I was a little miffed that it took till the last two or three chapters to make sense of it all, and I thought the ending was rushed. Mungo could never have it all in his childhood, and we could never see him truly happy in the end. What we get is yearning, and naive hope.

So if you like good writing, a VERY gritty, dark story, and could bear with a unsatisfying/'poetic' ending then this could be your book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-15-22

Not what I expected!

A roller coaster of emotions, and crystallisation of a lifetime of comments, thoughts and stories from Scottish friends and other sources about the harshness of everyday life in Glasgow.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-13-22

grim queer story that verges on torture porn

the language and imagery is amazing but some of the themes felt half cooked