Shotgun Lovesongs (Paperback)
— Jackie reads & reviews so many books it'll make your head spin—one of TC's most valuable assets.
I love debut authors because I want to hear the new voices and find the
rock stars before they even play their first real gig. Which is why I
am so excited about this book—Nickolas Butler is going to be one of
those rock stars. This book is about a group of friends, ten or so
years after they graduated from high school. There is literally a rock
star in the bunch, as well as a famous rodeo guy who got hit by one too
many bulls (and bottles), a married couple with small children and a big
farm to worry about, and a wheeler-dealer commoditiest guy who is
collapsing under the weight of his facade. They are closer than close,
yet everyone has a secret side that the others don't know about. All of
them feel lonely in some way, and yet they know that they all can rely
on the others. I fell in love with every one of them. I didn't want
the book to end—I wanted to go to dinner with them, or go dancing with
the whole town down at the mill. But mostly, I want this new writer to
keep writing. And I want you all to read this first one—I'm betting
you'll be just as hungry as I am for more." ~Jackie
— Judy S. is the pilot of our Espresso Book Machine & an occasional book blogger
This is about a group of friends who have known each other since high
school, and who return to their Wisconsin hometown of Little Wing from
far-flung locales, to ground themselves and assess their lives thus far.
They are musicians, rodeo riders, best friends, drunkards, entrepreneurs, and childhood sweethearts. A sort of “Big Chill”
gathering for this decade, these people could portray anyone’shometown
relationships – the current interests,the past hook-ups and old loves,
all interwovenamong these Midwestern lives. And that is the
beauty of Butler’s writing -- that his characters represent not just the
collective hope of America, but the purest voice of any one of us,
holding our note solid and clear. ~Judy S.
March 2014 Indie Next List
“This is a spectacular first novel, full of wit, energy, love, and a true feeling of home that other writers strive to achieve but few actually succeed in creating. It's the story of four men and a woman tied by their youth in a small town in Wisconsin. Their lives change over the years - one becomes a farmer, one an indie rock star, one a not-so-successful businessman, and one an ex-rodeo rider - but they all cling to that notion of home and small-town America, even as that dream is drying up and blowing away on the wind. Like Richard Russo, Jonathan Tropper, and Larry McMurtry, Butler knows exactly what is happening inside men's heads and he knows how to express their feelings without ever becoming maudlin. Every note rings true. I cannot wait to see what he writes next!”
— Bill Carl, The Booksellers on Fountain Square, Cincinnati, OH
"Impressively original." --The New York Times
"Sparkles in every way. A love letter to the open lonely American heartland...A must-read." --People
"The kind of book that restores your faith in humanity." --Toronto Star
Welcome to Little Wing.
It's a place like hundreds of others, but for four boyhood friends--all born and raised in this small Wisconsin town--it is home. One of them never left, still working the family farm, but the others felt the need to move on. One trades commodities, another took to the rodeo circuit. One of them hit it big as a rock star. And then there's Beth, a woman who has meant something special in each of their lives.
When all of them are brought together for a wedding, Little Wing seems even smaller than before. Lifelong bonds remain strong, but there are stresses--among the friends, between husbands and wives. There will be heartbreak, but there will also be hope, healing, even heroism as these memorable people learn the true meaning of friendship and love.
Nickolas Butler's Shotgun Lovesongs is that rare work of fiction that evokes a specific time and place, yet movingly describes the universal human condition. It is, in short, a truly remarkable book--a novel that, once read, will never be forgotten.
About the Author
NICKOLAS BUTLER was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. His writings have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review Online, The Progressive, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. A bestseller in both the U.S. and France, his debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, received the Midwest Booksellers Award, the Great Lakes, Great Reads Award, and France's Prix PAGE/America. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he currently lives in Wisconsin with his wife and their two children.