"So Many Lives and All of them Are Yours" by Ron Butlin is an enjoyable and memorable novel following the adventures and - mainly - misadventures of Morris Magellan, after he returns to what is left of his childhood home near Lochmaben in Dumfries & Galloway. On the way we learn about Morris's past, running away from home at 16 to escape his dreadful father and ending up living rough on the streets of 1960s London.
But now he has a freedom of sorts. He has been sacked from his job as a high-powered business executive and his marriage is behind him. His children are grown up and, though constantly in touch by text, they are no longer his responsibility. Or, at least, Morris would be free were it not for a collection of personality issues that result in mishaps that are by turns laugh-out-loud funny and cringeworthy by association. Those and his seriously dysfunctional relationship with alcohol. Nonetheless, though, this is the chance Morris has always wanted to write music, to become a genuine composer rather than a producer of background jingles for computer games. He's even been given a real commission to write a ten minute-long string quartet. All he needs is the inspiration to begin.
You get another view of "So Many Lives and All of them Are Yours" from the publisher's blurb: "After being sacked from his high-power executive job, Morris now has nothing to lose. He is free – sort of. Determined to devote what time he has left to creating music, his lifelong dream, he returns to his childhood home, ‘to kickstart his life once more – and this time get it right!’ Very soon, however, things start going wrong. Very wrong. Not only does his past catch up with him, but the future that is rushing towards him becomes more threatening by the day. Old bad habits creep back in again. Then he meets Jess. Upbeat, laugh-out-loud funny, this compelling novel, set in the Borders, swinging sixties London and present-day Edinburgh, touches on music, Scottish independence, love in later life and, most of all, how to make the most of one’s life before it is too late."