Book Review

March '13

Shotgun Lovesongs (Hardcover / Paperback)
Nickolas Butler

This debut novel is a treat for those of us who want to read a really good story with good writing, a compelling plot and great characters, but don't want to read about anything that will give us nightmares.

Shotgun Lovesongs is set in fictional Little Wing, Wisconsin, a small town of 1,500 without a stoplight outside of Eau Claire.  The main characters, guys, have been friends since childhood, attended the same school and church, sang in the same choirs, dated the same girls. As teens, they dream of getting out - to a big city like Minneapolis or Madison or even...Chicago.  But those who do leave, the rodeo rider, the rock star, the commodities trader, come back to reunite with their friends, recharge, and find their bearings again.  At the center of the book is Henry, one of the original group of guys who has stayed in town to farm the family land, marry his sweetheart Beth, and father two children.  Henry and Beth are happy, stable, and serve as the touchpoint for the rest of the group.  The author, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Iowa Writer's Workshop, is a skilled story teller who excels at characterization.  Men and women have enjoyed reading Shotgun Lovesongs, and I plan to use it for book discussions.  Highly recommended.