By – डगलस स्टुअर्ट

शुग्गी बैन एक शानदार कहानी है जो अनिवार्य रूप से तीन भागों में है। पहले और अंतिम भाग में हम शुग्गी से मिलते हैं जब वह लंबे मध्य भाग की घटनाओं से शारीरिक रूप से बच जाता है।

The bulk of the main story concerns Shuggie’s mother, Agnes, an alcoholic and struggling to control her alcoholism, bring up three children, experience some sort of life, realise her hopes and ambitions, and negotiate the people around her. Her love for kids is manifest but she and they are doomed by drink, vicious neighbours and an absence of any true friends. She meets a man she liked but even he betrays her in the most convincing & destructive way.

The author has set the novel in an eighties Scotland and tried to create a social environment in which Shuggie’s family tries to live. Agnes’ strong desire to do or achieve something to rise out of her poverty and degradation are thwarted time and again by her alcoholism, uncaring – even absent- local and national governments, and by a cold society isolating & degrading her along with her family. Logically, this extremely unpleasant environment did not just spring up with the new government; it had been festering for years. Agnes didn’t have a chance.

इस स्थिति के बीच में (समस्याओं से भरा हुआ) हम शुग्गी को पाते हैं, एक सभ्य, प्रतीत होता है कि बर्बाद लड़का अपनी प्यारी लेकिन अक्षम और उत्तरोत्तर बिगड़ती मां की देखभाल और देखभाल करने के साथ-साथ अपनी उभरती कामुकता और बस बढ़ने के नुकसान दोनों पर बातचीत करता है यूपी। उसकी माँ की गर्मजोशी, और उसकी दुर्दशा पर उसका अपराधबोध, उसके भाई का स्पष्ट रूप से नकाबपोश स्नेह, स्पष्ट रूप से वर्णन के साथ-साथ उचित रूप से किरकिरा भाषा में चित्रित किया गया है। मुझे लगा कि मैं वंचित और संघर्षरत ग्लासवेगियों की आवाज सुन रहा हूं।

The landscape and emotional life of the book are stark & bleak but the superb quality of the written language in its ordinary form carries the reader through to the final section. This is a narrative novel. It does have a kernel of redemptive seed to it. Three quarters through, Shuggie goes to cash a benefit book for mother. The regulation-spouting cashier considers refusing to oblige but eventually pays when the queue becomes impatient. As she does so, she dispenses a few words of wisdom representing the only real hope Shuggie really has. It’s a crucial scene, all the more poignant because the cashier – however distantly – represents callous officialdom.

Towards the end there is a tragicomic development when an acquaintance invites Shuggie along to makeup numbers on a date (of sorts!) A beam of hope under a louring Glasgow sky. Is the hope realised? I won’t spoil it.