I am officially in love with the American contemporary literature that takes place in small rural American towns and that talks about a simple lifestyle, simple values, friendship and love.
And Nickolas Butler with his debut novel confirms it to me. I loved it!
It is the story of four guys and a girl who grew up together in this small small town in the middle of nowhere in Wisconsin. And it is the story of each of them as individuals, with their successes and failures, with their love and hate for their hometown, with their strong values and hard work.
And it is also the story of their friendship, a friendship that, with some breakups, fights in between, but resists through the years, through the distance, through the fame of one of them. A male friendship mostly, built on few words but strong of the presence and support of each other, when the silences are comfortable and the gestures are more significant than the conversations.
I loved Hank, the farmer, the man that never moved out of Little Wing, the man who married his sweetheart Beth and built a family with her, the man who is strong and yet sweet and lovely.
Butler writes in a very uncomplicated yet engaging way in my view, he writes about simple life and simple things in a way that makes you want to be there with them, even if there is not really anything special in what he describes. A bit like my beloved Kent Haruf. Highly recommend it if you like the genre!
Overall rating: 9 Plot: 9 Writing style: 9 Cover: 8
Author: Nickolas Butler
Publication year: 2014
Henry, Lee, Kip and Ronny grew up together in rural Wisconsin. Friends since childhood, their lives all began the same way, but have since taken different paths. Henry stayed on the family farm and married his first love, whilst the others left in search of something more. Ronnie became a rodeo star, Kip made his fortune in the city, and musician Lee found fame – but heartbreak, too.
Now all four are back in town for a wedding, each of them hoping to recapture their old closeness but unable to escape how much has changed. Amid the happiness of reunion and celebration, old rivalries resurface and a wife’s secret threatens to tear both a marriage and a friendship apart . . .
This is a novel about the things that matter – love and loyalty, the power of music and the beauty of nature – told in a uniquely beautiful, warm-hearted and profound way and exploring the age-old question of whether we can ever truly come home.