Henry, Lee, Kip and Ronny grew up together in rural Wisconsin. Friends since childhood, their lives all began the same way, but have since taken different paths. Henry stayed on the family farm and married his first love, whilst the others left in search of something more. Ronnie became a rodeo star, Kip made his fortune in the city, and musician Lee found fame – but heartbreak, too.
Now all four are back in town for a wedding, each of them hoping to recapture their old closeness but unable to escape how much has changed. Amid the happiness of reunion and celebration, old rivalries resurface and a wife’s secret threatens to tear both a marriage and a friendship apart . . .
This is a novel about the things that matter – love and loyalty, the power of music and the beauty of nature – told in a uniquely beautiful, warm-hearted and profound way and exploring the age-old question of whether we can ever truly come home.
A big-hearted take on a small-town life from a new voice in American fiction . . . Gorgeous, unforgettable novel. * Marie Claire * I fell in love with the title of this book, and fell even deeper in love with it from page one. It is quiet, achingly sweet and melancholy . . . A top contender for my book of 2014 * Absolutely West * Nickolas Butler's Shotgun Lovesongs explores the complex relationship between four old friends in a poetic novel that pays tribute to the power of music and nature. -- Hot Books of 2014 * Daily Express * Nickolas Butler has written a novel to fall in love with: a paean to the American Midwest that explores the shifting relationships between old friends and the bonds between people and places. One of a group of boyhood friends has made it good as a famous rock star; others haven't. From that simple premise an addictive, deeply enjoyable literary page-turner is born. -- Jonathan Lee, author of * Joy * A wonderful book, filled with moments of gut-wrenching anguish and also of soaring hope. It is a beautiful tale of small towns and growing up and of trying to find a place in the world when home doesn't feel like home any more. A new American classic. -- Matt Haig, author of * The Humans * What a cracking book. Full of heart, full of compassion, full of characters who have you rooting for them from the very first page. Butler's sense of place is so strong that, reading Shotgun Lovesongs, I became a temporary resident of small-town Wisconsin - and once I'd finished it, I wanted to go right back there. -- Shelley Harris, author of * Jubilee * `A beautifully written, heartfelt novel about young men in the Midwest grappling with the slipperiest bits of life. Butler has the gift of making the everyday seem new - from the odd way fame silently separates old friends, to the disheartening foibles of a new marriage. This is a talented, thoughtful writer who throws his characters against the singular Wisconsin backdrop and coaxes them to live and breathe.' Katie Crouch, author of Girls in Trucks `In this deeply-felt debut, Nickolas Butler paints a place and its people with such love that you'll find yourself falling for them, too. This is a novel about home, and home is how the book feels. With all the pull and power of the word, it brings us face to face with the most important things: how hard it is to love well, to stay loyal, to act right, to know what that means.' Josh Weil, author of The New Valley `An unswervingly big-hearted and compelling novel about an indie-rocker made good and his best friends back home in Wisconsin, all of them navigating their way through different iterations of the America Dream, trying to make authentic lives and find meaningful love... Nickolas Butler conducts a soaring, meditative chorus of voices in his first novel. And it's absolutely beautiful.' Dean Bakopoulos, author of My American Unhappiness `Nickolas Butler ripped my heart out with rare honesty and good old-fashioned unapologetic love. A book that makes you want to call old friends. A writer who makes you feel more human than you thought possible.' Matthew Quick, New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook `Listen to the unforgettable characters and their chorus of voices - as they sing about longing, about betrayal, about friendship and marriage, about the green explosion of summer and the white music of winter, about the gravity of home - and you will be moved to laughter and tears, plugged in to a melody that brilliantly shares the story of all our lives.' Benjamin Percy, author of Red Moon and The Wilding `Shotgun Lovesongs is as true as an honest day's work, as serious as a busted heart, as welcoming as a warm home fire burning... Nickolas Butler has written a Midwestern masterpiece and has done for the modest splendor of verdant farmlands what Larry McMurtry did for the brutal beauty of small town Texas.' Amber Dermont, author of The Starboard Sea
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