Shotgun Lovesongs

One rarely hears people argue the merits of a book versus its audiobook, but with novel like Nickolas Butler's Shotgun Lovesongs, in which five characters from the same small town tell you about their dreams, struggles and escapades as if they were confiding in you over a beer, the audiobook must have the edge--assuming the voices are not miscast. Happily, the actors who read Shotgun Lovesongs give such distinct and natural performances that they render Butler's fictional Little Wing townspeople in a convincingly flesh and blood manner--if you were driving around Wisconsin, you'd half expect to bump into one of them at the VFW.

The narrators of Shotgun Lovesongs grew up together but the listener meets them as adults on the precipice of settling--or not settling--into midlife. Henry and Beth, a pair of high-school sweethearts with two kids and a farm, don't know each other as well as they think they do. Leland, a musician whose breakout album gives the novel its title, is torn between the muse of home and his fiancée, an actress who craves the city. Ronny, a damaged rodeo star, chafes under his friends' hyper solicitousness and yearns for more agency in his life. Kip, a Chicago moneyman, has moved back to Little Wing with a high-powered wife and big dreams for commercializing the town's derelict mill.

Let these five citizens of Little Wing tell you what they've been up to. Their storytelling is so unshowy, yet so confident, that you'll be all ears. --Holloway McCandless, blogger at Litagogo: A Guide to Free Literary Podcasts

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