** Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler


Shotgun Lovesongs open with a stunning chapter that introduces a group of high school friends from a small town in Wisconsin, some of whom have gone on to fame or money (or both) and others who have stayed and farmed as their parents did, or left and returned broken. The rest of the book tells the full story of these men, from high school to ten or fifteen years on, and it is not as successful as the first chapter, with somewhat stereotypical characters, especially the women characters, it seems, and the story lines hackneyed.

The winner is the town itself, with its cliques and closed-mindedness along with its instant solidarity.

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