In a small town, relationships often last a lifetime. In the town of Little Wing, Wisconsin, four friends maintain their bonds during the changes of life in Nickolas Butler’s Shotgun Lovesongs.
Kip, who has left the town of Little Wing to become a wealthy broker, returns to town to purchase the old mill. The former center of the town, the mill has become a symbol of the forgotten heart of the town. Kip has a vision to restore it to its former glory and to make it into an entertainment destination for the town.
Henry has never left the town of Little Wing—choosing to marry his high school love, Beth, and to farm on his land. His life is stable and predictable.
Ronny, the daredevil of the group, has ridden the rodeo circuit for years. His body, battered and bruised from his career, is unable to withstand injuries from an alcohol-fueled binge. He is trying to find his new niche, without booze and the rodeo.
Finally, Lee—the one who made it big—has become an international music star. His first record, Shotgun Lovesongs, was recorded in a chicken coop that he made into a studio. But has Lee’s wealth and success made it so that he cannot fit back into life in Little Wing?
The setting of Little Wing, Wisconsin is nearly another character in the novel, and being a Midwesterner, I can relate to the slow pace of small town life celebrated in this novel. People really are different in these towns. The dependence on the land, the tight bonds between people, and the social interactions between each generation of people make Little Wing a special place to visit.
Nothing really happens in this novel, short of rearrangements of relationships and a blip at the end, but plot is not really the selling point of Shotgun Lovesongs. It is more about the characters and their relationship to place than it is about the arc of a typical narrative.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel and the exploration of friendship and small town life. It felt like home to me. Its themes are universal—the changes that friendships have to make, family, and home. A comforting read in many ways. Recommended!
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina