I left a message for Nickolas Butler to call me so I could tell him some exciting news. A jury of book sellers selected his debut novel Shotgun Lovesongs to be among 10 books showcased by hundreds of independent bookstores upon release.
He was afraid to return my call since all the feedback he’d received about his beguiling story of Little Wing, Wisconsin-- a fictional town-- was critical of his interpretation of facts.
A paean to life in a small Midwestern town, Shotgun Lovesongs is the story of four friends and a woman who is married to one and is muse for another.
Now in their 30s, the group’s youthful ambitions are either fraught or manifest. It’s time to forge ahead or regroup. Henry Brown and his wife, Beth, are continuing the legacy of running the family farm. Lee has achieved global success as a rock musician. Kip returns home from Chicago with his wife, Felicity. He has a master plan with too much risk and is unrealistically banking on rejuvenating beloved Little Wing. Ronny made it big on the rodeo circuit until a liquor-fueled ride left him with permanent brain damage.
Butler beautifully captures small town life, from the dusty pickled egg jar on the bar to “American Pie” playing frequently on the jukebox and his empathetic characters are ultimately redeemed.
Maybe the author has been fuzzy on some details, but truth be told I’d really rather read a great story!