Young Mungo: The No. 1 Sunday Times Bestseller
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with some of the most gorgeous writing and intimate storytelling there ever was. From tender to bloodthirsty brutal…..
Bear in mind that this is called ‘Young Mungo’, which clearly signposts the boundaries of the novel’s scope. Equally clear is that the ending is likely to irritate those same readers who were annoyed at how ‘Shuggie Bain’ ended. Or, rather, petered out (me included, though I am more ambivalent about the ending of this book).
The prose is vivid and clear and superb. The dialogue zings with authenticity. The psychologies are startingly sound and the sociology unabashedly hyper-realistic. The connection to emotions is genuine and painful and the breath is shallow and hurried.
Again the story is set among the mean streets of Glasgow, but this time we're in the 1990s. Mungo Hamilton is 15, the youngest of three Protestant children. His mother Mo-Maw is an alcoholic and rarely seen at their small flat. Instead, he is raised by his sister Jodie, only a year older but with a steeliness and wisdom that belies her youth. Eldest brother Hamish is feared gang leader who spends most of his time organizing battles against the hated Catholics. Mungo is lost, but he does make a friend in James, a young neighbour who races pigeons. The time they spend together is an ocean of calm amid the stormy seas of Mungo's everyday life. Intertwined with the main plot is an account of a fishing trip that Mungo is sent on with two older men, and a sense of foreboding is hard to ignore.If only I could, I would give this many more than 5 stars - heartbreaking, breathtaking and very memorable.
There was a quiet, forgotten place behind the tenements, a scrabble of trees that sat between the edge of the motorway and the last row of sooty sandstone.”The blurb makes it seem like it's a forbidden love story between a Protestant boy and a Catholic one. This forms just a small part of the storyline. The main story is more like a bildungsroman, but not in a good way. I’m also totally torn on how to rate this book. I didn’t enjoy it at all but I can appreciate the writing. The story is so heavy, it’s like walking around with 20# weights on your shoulders. But that’s the point.