Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler


Shotgun Lovesongs

By Nickolas Butler

Thomas Dunne Books, Macmillan, 2014

318 pages

Set in Little Wing, WI, Shotgun Lovesongs tells the story of four young men in their 30s who grew up together in a small Midwestern town. The narration rotates between five main characters: Hank, a farmer and father; Kip a lawyer who has just returned to Little Wing from Chicago; Ronny a former rodeo champ and recovering alcoholic; Lee, a rock star with worldwide fame; and Beth, Hanks’ wife. The story explores what happens to them, and their friendships, as they age and some become more successful than others. Butler deftly captures small town life in the Midwest and through the character of Lee explores the consequences of celebrity.

This is an engaging book that gives a unique glimpse into the thoughts and psyches of four men who made very different life choices and yet all continue to live and spend time together. A good part of the action takes place around weddings, and I enjoyed seeing “the wedding” from a male point-of-view. I found the beginning of the book a little slow, but once it got going, I was taken by and rooting for all the characters. And being from the Midwest, I enjoyed reading a book set in Wisconsin.

Butler lives in Wisconsin and is a poet as well as a novelist.




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3 responses to “Shotgun Lovesongs, by Nickolas Butler

  1. Dock Oscar

    Sounds like a cool book. As a designer, I’m really liking the cover too.

  2. Carole Besharah

    I liked Butler’s writing style too. He’s got a great grasp on language -such poetic and vivid prose.

    I too found the story dragged, probably because Butler takes too much time to introduce the central conflict (Beth’s big secret). Also, I found that the different point of views were too similar, seeing as they “made different life choices” and have unique personalities. I mean, Ronny (who has brain damage) is as eloquent as Lee, the singer-songwriter.

    If Butler can learn to give his characters strong, distinct voices, I believe he could write more engaging stories. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Check out my review at Cheers!

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