Shotgun Lovesongs
by Nickolas Butler

Overview -


"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

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More About Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler


"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.

  • ISBN-13: 9781250039828
  • ISBN-10: 1250039827
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • Publish Date: February 2015
  • Page Count: 352
  • Dimensions: 7.97 x 6.99 x 0.88 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.68 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Coming of Age
Books > Fiction > Family Life - General

BookPage Reviews

Book clubs: Turning toward home

Set in Little Wing, Wisconsin, Nickolas Butler’s Shotgun Lovesongs is a poignant portrayal of life in the Midwest. The novel centers on a group of friends who grew up in Little Wing and still call the town home. Each of these 30-somethings takes a turn at narrating the story. Ronny, a former rodeo star, is struggling to find his footing in the world. Henry has a farm, a wife and kids. Kip, who made big bucks in stocks in Chicago, is using his fortune to revive Little Wing’s long-shuttered feed mill. And then there’s Lee, a promising musician (loosely based on real-life Wisconsinite Justin Vernon of Bon Iver) whose career has taken off thanks to an album recorded in a local chicken coop. Butler’s group of lifelong buddies feels genuine, and he infuses their conflicts, regrets and triumphs with wonderful detail. He also captures the special sense of melancholy that comes with the approach of middle age. Shotgun Lovesongs is a debut novel, but it reads like the work of a seasoned author.

In Paradise, the final novel from Peter Matthiessen, who died last year at the age of 86, is a haunting exploration of the Holocaust and the ways in which its reach has extended into the modern age. In 1996, Clements Olin, an English professor from America, attends a weeklong spiritual retreat at Auschwitz. He plans to spend his time there doing literary research, but he becomes involved with a diverse group of participants—Jews, Zen Buddhists and Germans, many of whom have come to the retreat seeking some form of resolution. They pray and meditate in the crematoria and on the platform where victims were chosen for the camps. Olin’s own story—including his unsuccessful marriage, various love affairs and the discoveries he makes about his family’s past—unfolds against this powerful backdrop. A remarkable endnote from a revered author, this is a brave, unflinching narrative about humanity’s deep-seated need for understanding. It’s a triumphant addition to Matthiessen’s epic body of work—one that reinforces his reputation as a fearless writer.

Akhil Sharma’s Family Life is a masterfully crafted novel that examines the immigrant experience and the ties that bind parents and siblings. Narrator Ajay Mishra tells the story of his family’s arrival in New York from New Delhi—a trip they make in 1979. Ajay’s brother, Birju, lands a spot at a notable prep school, and his father has a job with the government. The family seems set for a fresh start. But when Birju suffers an accident that leads to brain damage, the Mishras have to change course yet again. Caring for Birju becomes a top priority that introduces new tensions into their daily lives. In the midst of this turmoil, Ajay manages to excel in school and chart a course for a successful future. His matter-of-fact narration brings balance to a story filled with incident and drama. It’s an unforgettable depiction of a family battered by fortune and of the ways in which the human spirit endures.


This article was originally published in the February 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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