NICKOLAS BUTLER was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. His writings have appeared in: Narrative Magazine, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review Online, The Progressive, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he currently lives in Wisconsin with his wife and their two children.
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.
Advance Praise for Shotgun Lovesongs
"Nickolas Butler ripped my heart out with rare honesty and good old-fashioned unapologetic love."
"A Midwestern masterpiece [that] has done for the modest splendor of verdant farmlands what Larry McMurtry did for the brutal beauty of small town Texas." —Amber Dermont
"You will be moved to laughter and tears, plugged in to a melody that brilliantly shares the story of all our lives." —Benjamin Percy
"Nick's literary focus...explorations of the human quest for meaning and value...is a much-needed addition to contemporary fiction in that it explores beyond the conventional repositories of 'self' -- job security, family bonds, for example -- and reintroduces us to the settled world of nature, where we can explore into both new and ancient meanings of the term." —James Alan McPherson, Pulitzer-Prize winner