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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

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What listeners say about Young Mungo

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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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Phenomenonal!

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

5 people found this helpful

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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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Different but as good as SB

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

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Narration

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

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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.

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Amazing narration

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

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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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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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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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  • Michael Ferguson
  • 15-06-22

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