Title: Young Mungo

Author: Douglas Stuart

Pages: 430 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Picador

The Blurb

The extraordinary, powerful second novel from the Booker prizewinning 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.

The Review

Okay. So. Young Mungo. I tried. I really tried. It was jus far too bleak.

I persevered with Shuggie Bain and was left feeling empty by it but I wasn’t going to give up on Douglas Stuart just yet.

Sadly, Young Mungo was there breaking point. I really tried to get through it but I just couldn’t.

I’m sorry.

Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart is available now.

For more information regarding Douglas Stuart (@Doug_D_Stuart) please visit www.douglasdstuart.com.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) and Picador Books (@picadorbooks) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas

Author: Adam Kay

Pages: 160 Pages

Publisher: Picador

The Blurb

A short gift book of festive hospital diaries from the author of million-copy bestseller This is Going to Hurt

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat . . . but 1.4 million NHS staff are heading off to work. In this perfect present for anyone who has ever set foot in a hospital, Adam Kay delves back into his diaries for a hilarious, horrifying and sometimes heartbreaking peek behind the blue curtain at Christmastime.

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is a love letter to all those who spend their festive season on the front line, removing babies and baubles from the various places they get stuck, at the most wonderful time of the year.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

In a continuation from his debut This is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay once again celebrates the NHS and all the strange and wonderful things he witnessed as a junior doctor. The one negative thing about Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas is that it is just a bit on the short side. This is a backhanded compliment, I know, but the series of books has been so very good that I just want more.

I really hope that Adam Kay has more of these books in him…not in an ‘I-accidentally-fell-on-it-and-it-and-it-went-up-my-bum-and-I-ended-up-in-A&E’ way but you know what I mean.

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay is available now.

For more information regarding Adam Kay (@amateuradam) please visit www.adamkay.co.uk.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: This is Going to Hurt

Author: Adam Kay

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Picador

The Blurb

Welcome to the life of a junior doctor: 97-hour weeks, life and death decisions, a constant tsunami of bodily fluids, and the hospital parking meter earns more than you.

Scribbled in secret after endless days, sleepless nights and missed weekends, Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt provides a no-holds-barred account of his time on the NHS front line. Hilarious, horrifying and heartbreaking, this diary is everything you wanted to know – and more than a few things you didn’t – about life on and off the hospital ward.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Adam Kay was once a junior doctor and what lies between the pages of his debut book This is Going to Hurt is a hilarious collection of stories that he encountered whilst working for the NHS.

What I initially found surprising whilst reading This is Going to Hurt is the sheer volume of people who go to A and E with weird things lodged up their bum.

Reading This is Going to Hurt reminded me of many things. These include but are not limited to 1) our NHS is desperately underfunded. We know this already but it is corroborated by Adam Kay and as someone who once worked for this service I am going to take his word as gospel. You realise just how desperate a situation we are in. Secondly, work to life balance is so very important and 3) some illnesses are just plain weird.

A few years ago I became really ill. Due to the excellent care from doctors, nurses, porters alike (except one registrar but we will bypass this person) I really considered retraining to become a nurse. The amazing care I received allowed- nay, helped me fight my illness and I genuinely have the NHS to thank for that. Ultimately, I didn’t do it but after reading This is Going to Hurt I am sure that I could not live that life. I am just not strong enough. However, Adam Kay did reaffirm my belief that those who work or who have previously worked for the NHS are heroes. Fact.

Also This is Going to Hurt will make you laugh so hard you may end up with a hernia and need the NHS. Read with caution.

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay is available now.

For more information regarding Adam Kay (@amateuradam) please visit www.adamkay.co.uk.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Confession

Author: Jessie Burton

Pages: 455 Pages

Publisher: Picador

The Blurb

One winter’s afternoon on Hampstead Heath in 1980, Elise Morceau meets Constance Holden and quickly falls under her spell. Connie is bold and alluring, a successful writer whose novel is being turned into a major Hollywood film. Elise follows Connie to LA, a city of strange dreams and swimming pools and late-night gatherings of glamorous people. But whilst Connie thrives on the heat and electricity of this new world where everyone is reaching for the stars and no one is telling the truth, Elise finds herself floundering. When she overhears a conversation at a party that turns everything on its head, Elise makes an impulsive decision that will change her life forever.

Three decades later, Rose Simmons is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Having learned that the last person to see her was Constance Holden, a reclusive novelist who withdrew from public life at the peak of her fame, Rose is drawn to the door of Connie’s imposing house in search of a confession . . .

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist and The MuseThe Confession is a luminous, powerful and deeply moving novel about secrets and storytelling, motherhood and friendship, and how we lose and find ourselves.

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I love a good family saga. I love family secrets and I love the journeys that characters will go on to find out the truth. That is exactly what I got in Jessie Burton’s The Confession. In this novel Rose Simmons is trying to find out the truth about her mother. Her father is reluctant to talk about it but a series of clues lead her to someone who was once her mother’s lover. This is when Rose’s deception begins.

In this novel we see a character who is desperate to know who she is and where she comes from. It is her desperation that makes us feel sorry for her even when she is making dubious life choices and also makes us yell at the book when we know what she is doing is wrong. Big fat spanking wrong.

Jessie Burton is one of those writers that you can just trust to bring you the best possible story. She has nailed it once more with The Confession. If you like family mysteries and books that take you to different time periods then you must read The Confession by Jessie Burton.

The Confession by Jessie Burton is available now.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Author: Peter Turner

Pages: 177 Pages

Publisher: Picador

The Blurb

On 29 September 1981, Peter Turner received a phone call that would change his life. His former lover, Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame, had collapsed in a Lancaster hotel and was refusing medical attention. He had no choice but to take her into his chaotic and often eccentric family’s home in Liverpool.

Liverpool born and bred, Turner had first set eyes on Grahame when he was a young actor, living in London. Best known for her portrayal of irresistible femme fatales in films such as The Big HeatOklahoma and The Bad and the Beautiful, for which she won an Oscar, Grahame electrified audiences with her steely expressions and heavy lidded eyes and the heroines she bought to life were often dark and dangerous. Turner and Grahame became firm friends and remained so ever after their love affair had ended. And it was to him she turned in her final hour of need.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is an affectionate, moving and wryly humorous memoir of friendship, love and stardom.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is the absolutely lovely account of Peter Turner, a Liverpool born actor who had a chance encounter with an Oscar winning film star that changed his life. The fact that all this really happened makes it all the more Hollywood-esque and utterly heartbreaking.

Turner’s autobiographical account of his tryst with Gloria Grahame is the ultimately sad story of Hollywood’s devaluation of age and how, for female actors in particular, physical demise can be career destroying. Turner’s care and love for Grahame oozes off the page, besides love you feel an ultimate sense of respect and pain as he watches someone who he loves fall apart.

For me, one of the best parts of Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is Turner’s portrayal of Liverpool. He neither writes in clichés or disgust which is how I have found Liverpool to be portrayed in some books. However, Liverpool being his hometown may be how and why he manages to show it with such love and respect; similarly to what he shows Gloria Grahame.

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner is available now.

For more information regarding Picador (@picadorbooks) please visit www.panmacmillan.com/picador.