This afternoon I finished Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stewart.
It took me back.
Returned me to Glasgow.
Shuggie, real name Hugh.
Shuggie, son of Shug, also Hugh.
It is a wonderful poetic chaos of characters, moods and emotions.
It is poverty and pain, pride, hunger and exhaustion.
Sitting in Queen’s Park with empty can of lager,
Hiding in the bushes at Pollock.
Young boy trying to defend his mum, caught in the evils of greed and addiction, stale breath and unwashed clothes, blackened damp climbing the walls, collecting in corners behind broken windows and rattling doors.
Reading the book was an experience.
I won’t tell you the plot.
It left me lonely; it reminded me of early summer postal rounds in the Gorbals, double-deckers moist with condensation, sawdust on the butcher’s floor.
Mince pies and too salty chips, sickly buns before school, gobs of spit and dark winter nights.
The atmosphere of a forgotten world brought into focus.
Thank you for the writing.
What can I say, please read!