7th September 2007 at 01:00
While James Kelman and Iain Banks were wowing the literary establishment in the 1990s, another Scottish writer was labouring away in relative obscurity producing some of the most astonishingly powerful fiction in recent decades. His name is Ron Butlin and he is now rightly being rediscovered as a major voice in British fiction, with writers such as Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin queuing up to sing his praises.

His early novel, The Sound of My Voice, a moving and bitterly funny account of an alcoholic biscuit executive's spiral of decline (think a seedier Reggie Perrin) has been reclaimed as a lost classic.

Now Butlin has released his latest book of short stories, No More Angels, hailed as "Butlin on top form" by The Scotsman, which includes such cheery and uplifting tales as How the Angels Fly In, about a man showing two guests around the house where he murdered his parents.

OK, sunshine and candyfloss it ain't. But give Butlin a try and you will discover some of the most perfectly-tuned prose in British fiction. Once, after a particularly unsuccessful batch of novels, Butlin considered jacking in writing for good. It is a good job for book-lovers everywhere that he didn't

Madeleine Brettingham

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