Sunday 17 August 2014

Shotgun Lovesongs

Finished August 12
Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

This novel is set around the small Wisconsin town of Little Wing. The story is told in the voices of four friends: Henry, Leland, Kip and Ronny, and Henry's wife Beth.
The story begins as Kip is getting married. Kip is retired from his work as a commodities broker in Chicago where he was very successful and has come back to revitalize the town, and maybe to show off his success a bit. Henry stayed in Little Wing, working the family farm, raising dairy cattle and corn. Ronny made a career in the rodeo world, until a drunken fall caused brain damage that changed him forever. Leland (Lee) persisted in his music, eventually becoming famous around the world and with the money that came with that. Lee is seldom in Little Wing, but always makes it home for big events, and has made sure that Ronny is looked after. This time, Kip has asked him to sing at the wedding, something he didn't do for Henry and Beth, and Lee has agreed. But the way that Kip has handled this breaks the friends apart for some time, and as we see their lives unfold, we also see what came before as they all emerged into their adult years.
This is a story of friendship, of small towns, of love, and of hope.
I loved the characters here, how the complexity of them is drawn out over the story as they all speak of their experiences. You also get a great feel for the setting in small town Wisconsin, the sense of community and the ties to the land. A great read.

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