Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

If you loved Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, then prepare yourself for Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. Douglas Stuart's mastery of tempo, tone and detailed description produces physical reactions whilst reading. There are many stories about poverty and alcoholism. Families on any given street in any given country and from all walks of life could …

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The courtyard

Back then, during the cold winter evenings, the five women would gather in Ida's barn to keep warm. They looked forward to this time of day when they could meet and talk; seated on wooden chairs huddled close together in a circle amidst the familiar scent of manure, feed and dust. The body heat off …

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A Bad Habit

She was very attractive, but her nails were bitten to the quick. This meant that her hands were usually balled into fists on her lap or tucked away into her pockets, belying a cool easy elegance rather than what it actually was. Embarrassment. Strange, this one flaw, when all the rest of her was so …

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Pewter Sky

The day we met, a major storm was brewing. The city was a flurry with bits of paper and garbage whipping about in a crazy dance of leaps, swirls and dips; choreographed by the erratic wind. Street vendors were battening down the hatches in their kiosks. Shop owners were wheeling their wares back into the …

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Vermilyea Avenue

I was hit squarely with the strong distinctive odor of cabbage and fried schnitzel while descending the stairs from my friend's fourth floor apartment. Then, it happened. You see, my nose, having been accosted, sparked the memory which stopped me in my tracks somewhere between the second and third floor... And there we were. My …

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The wicked

Despondency had an address. Ours. Our house was one of a series of identical houses on the fringes of this forest. The ever present dankness and semi shadow was meant to humble and educate. From an early age blind obedience and outright denial of any desire or ambition for 'things' outside the designated square meters …

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A simple life

Her house is a fine example of symmetry. It is the type of house you first draw as a child. The feeling on the untree-lined street of row houses, is one of uncertain suspension and despondency given the overall grey dominating the scene. Still, a few of the homes, in an attempt at bursts of …

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Another place

We were completely surrounded. Bodies pressing into us, hands prying and violating; a crush of human flesh and bones. The ATM's had been emptied out days before, so we had stashed as much cash as we were able to withdraw underneath our clothes, to tide us over. The air thick with the mixture of sweat, …

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