Expected Publication: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Format: via publisher/NetGalley
Challenges: 2014 NetGalley/Edelweiss
Challenges: 2014 NetGalley/Edelweiss
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Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town—Little Wing—and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family's land that's been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them—both then and now—fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of lovesongs and rivalries.
Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world. The result is a shared memory only half-recreated, riddled with culture clashes between people who desperately wish to see themselves as the unified tribe they remember, but are confronted with how things have, in fact, changed.
There is conflict here between longtime buddies, between husbands and wives—told with writing that is, frankly, gut-wrenching, and even heartbreaking. But there is also hope, healing, and at times, even heroism. It is strong, American stuff, not at all afraid of showing that we can be good, too—not just fallible and compromising. Shotgun Lovesongs is a remarkable and uncompromising saga that explores the age-old question of whether or not you can ever truly come home again—and the kind of steely faith and love returning requires.
Shotgun Lovesongs is the tale of a group of friends all trying to make something of themselves in a small town. Some make it big, some just want to make it to the next day, while other try and eventually fake it to try to impress others.
The main focus is the friendship of Leland and Hank. These guys all grew up together and while Hank stays home and becomes a farmer, Leland is determined to make music and leave that town forever. Leland makes that happen and becomes a star. He travels around the world but as much as he wanted to live, now all he wants is to settle down back home. He wants to escape the fame and the fake friends that comes with it. Told in flashbacks and flipping back to present day we learn that Beth, Hanks wife had a fling with Leland before she got married. While it seems as if she and Leland have moved on we see she still thinks about him and vice versa. And although Beth truly loves her husband she can’t help but wonder if something could’ve happened with Leland. One night when Leland comes back home after his failed marriage he decides to tell Hank what happens while drunk. Rightfully so Hank is mad, but is his pain valid? I mean they weren’t together and although they were friends and Leland should’ve know better no one knew they would get back together and marry.
I truly loved this book. It just read very epic and all American in my eyes. We all have those group of friends that know us better than we know ourselves. These people are our family. They are the ones we love and equally hate at times. They are there for the highs and the lows and everything in between. Nikolas Butler writes a story that beautifully describes the American life in a small town and a group of friends we can all identify with. These characters will capture your soul and you can’t help but get invested into them. As much as you root for these characters to succeed, you want them to know that there is no place like home. Home is the place that made you who you are, and it’s the place that will always take you back. It never judges it just loves you for you.
Although we are only three months into the year Shotgun Lovesongs is one of my favorite reads thus far. It’s just one of books that will stay with you way after you finish it. So… do yourself a favor and read it as soon as you can.
THE BOTTOM LINE... IT'S...