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Publisher's Summary

The brilliant new novel from the Booker Prize-winning author of Shuggie Bain

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, the sixth debut novel and only the second by a Scottish writer to win in the prize’s 50-year history. Shuggie Bain also won the British Book of the Year Award, the Sue Kaufman Prize, was a finalist for the US' National Book Award, and won or was nominated for dozens of other prizes. The book is now published or forthcoming in 40 territories and has already sold more than a million copies worldwide.   

Young Mungo is Stuart’s extraordinary second novel. Five years in the writing, it is both a thriller 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. It is set to stand alongside Shuggie Bain as a modern classic.

©2022 Douglas Stuart (P)2022 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Young Mungo

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Beautiful and brutal

A love poem wrapped in the brutal reality of violence and hatred..alternately elegant and gut wrenching, yet rich in its various textures; profoundly moving. It should come with trigger warnings as it contains graphic violence and abuse scenes throughout; integral to the story and it’s overall mood, but very disturbing. The narration takes getting used to because of the accent, but is very engaging ultimately. Very disturbing read but definitely worth the trip.

4 people found this helpful

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Suffering Sappho!

Suffering Sappho!! This book is intense.

I'm not a trigger warnings person, but if ever a book deserved them, it is Young Mungo. I was particularly caught off guard because the synopsis stresses the sweet gay romance and not the grueling, painful homophobia and heartbreaking violence.

Young Mungo is actually a thriller, although it eschews the standard, cliche trappings. I was more stressed reading this than I have been reading a book since... maybe ever. It actually wasn't a pleasant experience most of the time.

But the characters absolutely ring true. Stuart has a real, rare gift. I truly love Mungo.

Although this book has superficial similarities to Shuggie Bain, that book has a warm beating heart. I would read that book again in a second. I think Young Mungo is objectively at least as good, but I doubt that I will ever want to explore this pain again.

Still highly recommended if you've got the stones.

3 people found this helpful

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Young Mungo

The narrator’s accent was so heavy it was hard to understand- I don’t understand why he was chosen to read this book. I had to keep reversing the book to try to catch what was being said. The story was sad and violent, very disarming - definitely not a light reading experience! I would not recommend

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Aye to Mungo

Disturbing story .. narration : hard to understanding Scottish brogue. Shallow character development. R rating for violence,language and subject matter.

2 people found this helpful

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A masterpiece

Stunning narration -gorgeous writing /this should win a Pulitzer and some kind of an award for the reader just amazing

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Captivating and Heartbreaking

Stuart has written a story alternately gorgeous and devastating. Reminiscent of Yanagihara’s A Little Life, this is a coming of age and coming to terms story wrapped in and around all sorts of cruelty and trauma. This novel is moving, rewarding, hopeful and painful all at the same time.

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Amazing

I loved everything about this book. The story, the writing and the reader combined to make this one of the best books I've gotten (out of the hundreds) from Audible. I won't write more for fear of giving a moment of it away but if you enjoy eloquent writing and a book that makes it hard to stop listening, this is your next pick.

1 person found this helpful

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Even better than Shuggie Bain

Douglas Stewart is immensely talented. His descriptive writing and use of Scottish slang is incredible.
The narration by Chris Reilly makes it exciting to listen to.

I can’t wait for the next book

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A memorable and agonizing experience

What writing! The book is full of original similes and metaphors which bring to mind the scene before the reader. Wonderful writing.
On the down side, be prepared for a depressing, violent story that might not be for everyone’s taste. It is not a book that one “enjoys” so much as appreciates.
The narration is also excellent. He has a Scottish lilt that I found helped to transport me to Scotland while still being able to be understood by this American.

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A frightening book

This book heaps even more misery on its central character than in Shuggie Bain. I had to take breaks from it, feeling overwhelmed at times. Wondering how much more I could bear to hear about the many cruelties suffered by Young Mungo. But stuck it out because I love the way it is written and narrated, and the story too is as good as it is terrible.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-02-22

This is goooood!

Very much worth the time, it's not beautiful, well, not always, but it's raw. Highly recommended!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-28-22

So good

This was superb, really gripping, not an easy listen but just excellent. The narrators voice is perfect for the story.