Starting with the Dark :
Shuggie Bain, the debut novel by Douglas Stuart, won the 2020 Booker Prize. The only time I had cause to smile over this novel was when another reader described it as “misery porn”. Sums it up perfectly.
1980’s Glasgow and the men are out of work and the women are finding solace in their addictions : gambling, drink, and tobacco.
Shuggie is the youngest of three children. His father is a philandering and abusive slug who relocates the family away from relatives to a town where the pits are closed and poverty abounds, and then does a runner leaving the kids under the total control of their alcoholic mother. The two older children make their escape though loving, effeminate Shuggie does his best to keep his mother afloat, even going without food for days because the dole money went on the drink. You just know it’s not going to end well……….
Bleak as though beautifully written. I did not have a glass of wine for three days after reading this.
WARNING : Do not read listening to Leonard Cohen or if your mental health is already a little dicey. Not one glimmer of hope within the 430 pages.
And some Light:
At only 12 years of age Luke Harper has published his very first children’s book titled, Pigeons and Popcorn.
In 2018, Luke entered the (Australian) National Child Writes Competition, a competition offering school children the opportunity to write and illustrate their own children’s picture books. Introduced to the competition by his school teacher from there he worked on his concepts and illustrations with a mentor.
Released in 2020 1,000 copies of Pigeons and Popcorn have been donated to Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation with all proceeds from sales being donated to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, a place Luke has previously been a patient.
Way to go…..