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.--Judy S. is the pilot of our Espresso Book Machine & an occasional book blogger
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.
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--Jackie reads & reviews so many books it'll make your head spin—one of TC's most valuable assets.
Indie Next ListMarch 2014
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
Welcome to Little Wing.
It’s a place like hundreds of others, nothing special, really. But for four friends—all born and raised in this small Wisconsin town—it is home. And now they are men, coming into their own, or struggling to do so.
One of them never left, still working the family farm that has been tilled for generations. But others felt the need to move on, with varying degrees of success. One trades commodities, another took to the rodeo circuit, and one of them even hit it big as a rock star. And then there’s Beth, a woman who has meant something special in each of their lives.
Now all four are brought together for a wedding. Little Wing seems even smaller than before. While lifelong bonds are still strong, there are stresses—between 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 adult friendship and love.
Seldom has the American heartland been so richly and accurately portrayed. Though the town may have changed, the one thing that hasn’t is the beauty of the Wisconsin farmland, the lure of which, in Nickolas Butler’s hands, emerges as a vibrant character in the story. 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 audiobook—a novel that once listened to 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 graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he currently lives in Wisconsin with his wife and their two children.
Praise for Shotgun Lovesongs…
“Grabs the listener by the ears and doesn’t let go… there’s no question that all the narrators connect with the characters’ emotional journeys.” – AudioFile Magazine
“Using different narrators for the various characters is a brilliant move. Each is polished and well worth hearing.” – Christian Science Monitor