"The push and pull of a small Midwestern town is the driving force of this wistful novel about four childhood friends who are bound together, despite their desire to strike out on their own. Kip has left to earn his fortune in Chicago, Ronny to be a rodeo cowboy in Wyoming, Beth to find herself in Minneapolis, and Lee to New York to become a rock legend. Only Henry stays behind, taking over the family farm. But each character is called back to Little Wing, Wisconsin, some to confront destiny and others to tackle demons. There’s a love triangle at the center of the story for sure, but at its heart, Shotgun Lovesongs is a gentle but still barroom friendly classic buddy novel."— Daniel Goldin
"I plowed through this book in one day, and I'm not a fast reader. It's not that it's a short book, although at 320 pages, it isn't exactly a doorstop either. And it's not that I couldn't put it down, I didn't read it in one sitting, but I kept coming back to it. What it is: unsparing, no-nonsense prose, redolent of the voices of Wisconsin; a study of the vicissitudes of friendship and love, betrayal and redemption, and the magnetic draw of home; a paean to the lives of the common (and not so common) folk of our state."— Conrad Silverberg
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.