Review: Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Title: Shotgun Lovesongs

Author: Nickolas Butler

Published: Thomas Dunne Books March 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from March 04 to 06, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

Set in rural Wisconsin, Shotgun Lovesongs tells the story of four men, and one woman, renegotiating the meaning of friendship, love and home.

Five characters share the narrative in alternating chapters. Hank – who inherited his father’s farm, Beth – Hank’s wife, Lee – an international music artist, Kip – a successful broker and Ronny -an injured rodeo star. These people speak and we think that we know them, who they are and what they dream of, but each are capable of surprising us as the story unfolds.

I have read few books that feature male friendship, and it was something that I really enjoyed about Shotgun Lovesongs. The bonds this group formed in childhood remain intact through a decade of physical separation and sporadic contact, but when they reunite in Little Wing they learn none of them are the boys they once were and their relationships with each other are now complicated by the men they have become.

The community of Little Wing in rural Wisconsin is vividly portrayed. I could easily imagine Kip’s mill looming over the town, the car park full of battered pick-ups, weathered men leaning on the bar in the VWF hall and tractors traversing the the open farmland.

While tempers may flare, the conflict in Shotgun Lovesongs is largely personal and the drama is subdued. The pace of the story is measured and thoughtful, emphasising emotion over action. I found the writing and dialogue to be simple and honest yet descriptive and affecting.

Shotgun Lovesongs is an understated yet heartfelt novel, an ode to friendship, to love and to family. It is a story about finding your way home, where ever that may be.

* I learned after finishing Shotgun Lovesongs that the novel is loosely based on the life of Bon Iver, a folksy rock singer, whom I had never heard of. A quick browse on Youtube revealed some really beautiful music and lyrics but I’m not a fan of his voice at all, I much prefer the covers by Adele {I Can’t Make You Love Me} and Birdy {Skinny Love} for example, but play the clip below to sample his music.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Danielle Binks
    Mar 10, 2014 @ 12:03:59

    Oh my gosh, I love Bon Iver! I’ve borrowed this one from the library, will be reading very soon. Fab review!

    Reply

  2. 5eyedbookworm
    Mar 11, 2014 @ 22:55:25

    I’ve seen this book reviewed in a couple of blogs and everyone seems to be raving about it. After reading your review, I’m more convinced to pick it up soon. I love books about friendship and family and this seems to be right up my alley. Thank you so much for a wonderful review.

    Reply

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