Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Review: Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town—Little Wing—and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family's land that's been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them—both then and now—fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of lovesongs and rivalries.

Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world. The result is a shared memory only half-recreated, riddled with culture clashes between people who desperately wish to see themselves as the unified tribe they remember, but are confronted with how things have, in fact, changed.

There is conflict here between longtime buddies, between husbands and wives—told with writing that is, frankly, gut-wrenching, and even heartbreaking. But there is also hope, healing, and at times, even heroism. It is strong, American stuff, not at all afraid of showing that we can be good, too—not just fallible and compromising. Shotgun Lovesongs is a remarkable and uncompromising saga that explores the age-old question of whether or not you can ever truly come home again—and the kind of steely faith and love returning requires.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 11th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books 
Genre: Adult fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received an advanced readers copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.*

Shotgun Lovesongs is an honest story of life long friends from small town America where the setting is just as much a character as the people. Each chapter alternates between the key players and tells the story of present and past. Throughout the pages you can truly feel the friendship, love and loyalty of all these characters who's lives have taken dramatically different routes. The characters are so well developed that by the time you finish the book you feel like you really know them. The multiple points of view along with the stories of past and present are key in understanding each character.

The story is not action packed but filled with real life drama minus modern technology. Friendships are put to the test by fame, distance, illness, money, love and lies. Butler pens each character with such vulnerability that it is almost impossible not to like them. In short the story is about friendship standing the test of time and the things that make or break this life long bond.

I really enjoyed it and loved the final sentences at the very end!

About the Author

Nickolas Butler is the author of the novel "Shotgun Lovesongs" and a forthcoming collection of short stories entitled, "The Chainsaw Soiree".

Born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, he was educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. His work has appeared in: Ploughshares, The Christian Science Monitor, The Kenyon Review Online, Narrative, The Progressive, and many other publications.

Along the way he has worked as: a meatpacker, a Burger King maintenance man, a liquor store clerk, a coffee roaster, an office manager, an author escort, an inn-keeper (twice), and several other odd vocations.

He presently lives on 16 acres of land in rural Wisconsin adjacent to a buffalo farm. He is married with two children.

1 comment:

  1. Hi ladies! I nominated you for the Liebster Award on my blog. :) I hope you're able to participate.