We invited him to all of our weddings; he was famous. We addressed the invitations to his record company's skyscraper in New York City so that the gaudy, gilded envelopes could be forwarded to him on tour - In Beirut, Helsinki, Tokyo. Places beyond our ken or our limited means. He sent back presents in battered cardboard boxes festooned with foreign stamps - birthday gifts of fine scarves or perfume for our wives, small delicate toys or trinkets upon the births of our children: rattles from Johannesburg, wooden nesting dolls from Moscow, little silk booties from Taipei. He would call us sometimes, the connection scratchy and echoing, a chorus of young women giggling in the background, his voice never sounding as happy as we expected it to.Shotgun Lovesongs
by Nickolas Butler
I borrowed this book from the library and started reading on Friday. Soon afterwards, I realized there were multiple narrators in the audio version and downloaded that, too. (I'm a big fan of multi-narrator productions.)
"Friendship" novels almost always appeal to me and, so far, this one appears to be a gem. It's also a little out of the ordinary because the primary friendships are between men - childhood friends now in their thirties and reunited in a small Wisconsin town.
Want to know more? Here's the goodreads summary:
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 love songs 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.What do you think of the opening? Would you continue reading?
Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.