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The Sound of My Voice (Five Star Paperback) [Paperback]

Ron Butlin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

22 Aug 2002 Five Star Paperback
Morris Magellan is an executive who runs a biscuit company in Scotland. He has a house in the suburbs, nice wife and kids and seems, on the surface, to be an embodiment of Thatcherite values. However, there is one major problem. He is a chronic alcoholic and, from the start, we sense that he is doomed and his life is about to disintegrate. He isn?t a coke-and-booze bingeing style victim with one eye on the clock, hoping to meet Ms Right and acquire the two kids and the suburban home that will straighten everything out. He already has all this and it hasn?t straightened out anything. Magellan?s journey will never end. The Sound of My Voice is as extraordinary a vision of alcoholism as Malcolm Lowry?s Under the Volcano.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; New Ed edition (22 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852427531
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852427535
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 12.8 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 451,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


‘A powerful first novel’ -- Observer

‘An extraordinarily powerful and redemptive work, as impressive for its use of language as for its emotional appeal. Butlin’s only precursor is Kafka’ -- Nicholas Royle, Time Out

‘Compulsively readable... a cleverly orchestrated, unique work of fiction’ -- Glasgow Herald

‘Lucid, harrowing, comic, lyrical and tragic... – probably a masterpiece, a completely achieved work’ -- Andrew Greig, The Independent

‘Striking...extraordinary...a fine first novel’ -- The List

About the Author

Before taking up writing full-time Ron Butlin was, at various times, a lyricist with a pop band, a barnacle scraper on Thames barges, a footman attending embassies and country houses, and a male model. His works include the novels The Sound of My Voice, Night Visits and most recently Belonging; two collections of stories, Vivaldi and the Number 3 and The Tilting Room, and six books of poetry. His fiction and poetry have been translated into over ten languages.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
If you ask any student of Celtic literature to name the classic works of fiction originating from the Scotland in the last twenty or so years, the list would be pretty predictable. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding but not for the faint hearted 21 Feb 2010
I have often wondered what it would be like to be an alcoholic and this is about as close as I want to get. Reading this book I often felt disorientated and anxious, as if I was seeing Morris' world through his brandy-goggles. Although it is a short book it is long enough. Its brilliance is oppressive. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it but I won't forget it in a hurry. A real experience for those looking for something that little bit different.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stone-cold classic 10 Jun 2000
By A Customer
Probably the outstanding Scottish novel of the 1980s. Irvine Welsh picked up on this one as a lost masterpiece, and he's right. Written in the second person continuous present tense, this novel is funny, scarey, hilarious, troubling and profound as our alcoholic narrator slides towards the end of his life as a biscuits executive. My heart was thumping as this story moves towards its end - which I won't give away, except to say its perfect, deeply moving, and oddly life-affirming. This novel is as perfect as it is short.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing 29 Jan 2003
.... For a Scottish novel of the 1980's that slipped the net, you might think 'The Sound of My Voice' would be stylistically akin to James Kelman say, or a precursor to Irvine Welsh's 'scots' monolgues who has helped dig this book out of the 'lost fiction' department and put it back where it belongs. However Ron Butlin's 114 page novel, illuminates not the disaffected working classes of 1980's Scotland, but a successful executive, Morris Magellan as it's central character, and it's stylistic triumph has little to do with 'vernacular', more the second-person narration that draws the reader from the outset into a very tense and disturbing place.
What Butlin's book does have in common with the cannon of Scottish writers who include Kelman, is that the daily grind is heart renderingly captured here, Magellan who runs a biscuit company may have the wife, kids, suburban house, car and well paid job but he is caught between the house and the office in a meaningless cycle, where his emotional disintegration is dramatised by his alcoholism, something Butlin has captured with rare skill, so much so that for a short novel this is emotionally harrowing to read and hauntingly so. In between this office, home trajectory littered with violent bursts of consumption, through Magellan's voice we follow him back to memories of early childhood and teenage years, incidents that are both defined by the presence of his father. Memories of a small boy in the country, confused about perspective, how far off buildings get closer when you move toward them, or of a teenager at a party, drinking with a girl would perhaps be happy incidents, but they are almost nightmarish in Magellan's mind, both emblamatic of the inability to communicate emotion that defines his internal collapse.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inner Voices of Alcoholism 6 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
<Contains Spoilers>

I don't know if this book was influenced by Eric Berne's writing but it fits nicely into Transactional Analysis (eg his book "What Do You Say After You Say Hello?").
A tiresome clever wally marketing manager uses alcohol to hide his damaged emotional state (from childhood) and support his playacting marriage and working life. He slides into a downward spiral but instead of arriving at the scripted crash, his inner (adult) voice pushes aside the child and gently helps him to help himself and successfully challenge the root of the problem, in this case his dead father.
A short but valuable book about alcoholism.
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