I loved this book from page one. It’s 1962 and the reader is introduced to a wonderful character, 13 year old Nelson who is the bugler in a Boy Scout’s Camp in Wisconsin. He is ostracized, bullied and yet he remains the loyal and idealistic bugler who does everything by the book. Nelson’s doting mother and harsh father flush out the picture further. Enter Jonathan, a slightly older kid who weakly defends him (at times) but ultimately betrays Nelson. Despite this Nelson keeps him in his life and through the years we see what lies in the hearts of these men.
Kirkus Reviews starred review: “Across three generations and as many wars, this earnest novel explores the ways boys become men and how even flawed men may stand as models for the young.... Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs (2014), explored the forces that bind and erode friendship among a group of young men growing up in a Wisconsin town. This book mines a darker seam, delving into the roots of the male character and how it may be shaped by a code of behavior or an exemplar and warped or strengthened by trauma. He presents few strong women characters, but the exceptions suggest he has much to offer in that area. Butler's mostly unembellished prose delivers a well-paced, affecting read.”
Publishers Weekly starred review: “Butler demonstrates enormous command over the material and sympathy for his flawed characters. This beautiful novel might be his best yet.”
Nickolas Butler is a beautiful writer. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. Click here to request the egalley from Edelweiss.