The Herald 2017 Books of the Year
1985, Edinburgh. Thatcher’s policies are biting deep – fat cats and street-kids, lovers, losers and the rest struggle to survive. Hume sets up a business catering for the rich and their ever-growing appetites. But by the new millennium, these appetites have become too demanding . . .
Powerful, challenging and very funny, Billionaires’ Banquet is an immorality tale for the 21st century.
‘Butlin is a gifted writer. Insightful, wry and humane. Intensely readable.’ —Brian Taylor
‘Brilliant! … a suavely compelling, ceaselessly inventive entertainment … delivered with delirious aplomb … Butlin is both a master farceur and a merciless satirist.’ —Ronald Frame, Scottish Review of Books
‘The language is sharp, funny and considered, and lends credence to Butlin's reputation as an author of tremendous talent.’ —The List
‘At the core of Billionaires’ Banquet is an entertaining knockabout comedy about the way early ambition is tempered by reality, or how noble principles inevitably give way to self-interest.’ —The Herald
‘Billionaires’ Banquet is, first and foremost, a hugely entertaining novel. It’s fast-paced, very funny, and with characters whose joie-de-vivre is simply irresistible. A cracking good read.’ —Bookmunch
‘Billionaires’ Banquet, by Ron Butlin, is a wry tale of a group of Edinburgh students living in Thatcher’s Britain. They are on the cusp of the rest of their lives, ready to move beyond their years of drink fuelled casual sex in the cold and cluttered bedrooms of cheap shared accommodation.’ —neverimitate
‘Butlin writes exuberantly but not without an undertone of despair. Wild comedy and satire alternate with bleak social observation. The characters are types rather than individuals. That’s not surprising; this is a novel of ideas.’ —The Scotsman
‘A humane view of the UK’s many economic crises? Is there such a thing? And would it make a good novel? Well, yes, the brilliant author Ron Butlin (who’s only recently come to my attention) finds a compelling and realistic way of guiding some brilliant characters through from Thatcher’s selfish individualism to today’s global power and terror.’ —Nudge Magazine
‘Insightful, funny, scathing, and farcical.’ —Our Book Reviews
‘This exceedingly original novel evokes the zeitgeist of Thatcher’s Britain with wit, humour and an exhilaratingly zesty touch.’ —Lovereading
‘2017 Books of the Year Billionaires' Banquet by Ron Butlin (Salt) brought back late 70s/early 80s Edinburgh in all its witty dourness, sly exuberance, hidden charms and dodgy doings, then jumps to a version of Now. It's comic, political, scathing and page-turning.’ —Andrew Greig, The Herald
‘Handled with Butlin's skill and compassion, the dark material in Night Visits is anything but sensationalised. He is ever seeking to acquire and encourage understanding of even the most wretched souls.’ —Nicholas Royle, Time Out
‘The Sound of My Voice is the sound of a writer at the peak of his power, and one of the most inventive and daring novels ever to have come out of Scotland. Playful, haunting and moving, this is writing of the highest quality.’ —Ian Rankin
‘An assured, beautifully written novel.’ —Iain Banks
‘Butlin is a novelist capable of making the improbable ring true … remarkable powers of description … compellingly written.’ —Allan Massie, The Scotsman
‘One of the most powerful and compelling pieces to emerge from the pen of this superb writer.’ —Alexander McCall Smith
‘The book’s strength is its pace and its vivid drawing of a mother’s battle with social exclusion. The rather staccato style was not what I was expecting from the Makar, although there are touches of memorable lyricism and poignant symbolism: the Ghost Moon of the title is the name Maggie gives to the emerging Moon as she pushes Tom in his pram: seemingly as distant as her dreams.’ —Michael North, The Independent
‘★★★★★ This may be a short, compact novel but the slim tome is miraculously obese with feelings, life and a story that must have been repeated over and over during the last 50-plus years. Indeed this is how Ron makes a difference: before Ghost Moon I didn't fully understand the effects of the 'moral society' of the 50s that many still hark back to but now I do. Perhaps I'm not the only one.’ —Ani Johnson, The Bookbag
‘★★★★★ Top Ten Literary Fiction Books of the Year A beautifully touching story . . . powerful and compelling. Brilliant.’ —Ani Johnson, The Bookbag
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