Synopses & Reviews
Young couples gather to participate in an annual “chainsaw party,” cutting down trees for firewood in anticipation of the winter. A group of men spend a weekend hunting for mushrooms in the wilderness where they grew up, and where some still find themselves trapped. An aging environmentalist takes out his frustration and anger on a singular, unsuspecting target. A woman helps another get revenge against a man whose crime extends far beyond him to an entire community. In the ten stories of Beneath the Bonfire
, Nickolas Butler demonstrates his talent for portraying “a place and its people with such love that you'll find yourself falling for them, too,”* evoking an American landscape that will be instantly recognizable to readers enchanted by his debut, Shotgun Lovesongs
*Josh Weil, award-winning author of The New Valley and The Great Glass Sea
Praise for Shotgun Lovesongs
“Impressively original.” —The New York Times
“Shotgun Lovesongs is the kind of book that restores your faith in humanity.” —The Toronto Star
“We all have them, right? Those songs that indelibly mark the milestones in our lives? Songs that stir up our deepest feelings and remind us of who we are.…Only the best, most emotionally resonant novels work in the same way. Nickolas Butlers Shotgun Lovesongs is one of those novels.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Sparkles in every way. A love letter to the open lonely American heartland…A must-read.” —People
"Totally smitten. That was me, within four pages of the beginning of Shotgun Lovesongs. … This is one of those books you step into, but never want to leave." —Reedsburg Times-Press
"A dreamy novel that leaves readers with a lasting impression about friendship and its purpose — to teach, inspire, and, most of all, fill our hearts with love." —Wilkes Barre Times-Leader
"There is also a profound empathy for the characters and the small-town dynamic that the reader will likely share, an appreciation for what 'America was, or could be.'" —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"The hearty Midwest, which thrums and beats through tiny Little Wing, Wisconsin -- an Anytown, USA, if there ever was one -- assumes the whole soul of Butler's fetching debut.... Readers can feel the winter cold on the other side of the neon sign and hear the peanut shells crunching underfoot." —Booklist
"A beautifully written, big-hearted celebration of the enduring power of different kinds of love." —The Independent (UK)
Nickolas Butler's debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs, has become an international bestseller and won numerous accolades, including France's Prix Page/America. Now, in Beneath the Bonfire, he demonstrates his talent for portraying "a place and its people with such love that you'll find yourself falling for them, too" (Josh Weil, author of The Great Glass Sea).
Young couples gather to participate in an annual "chainsaw party," cutting down trees for firewood in anticipation of the winter. A group of men spend a weekend hunting for mushrooms in the wilderness where they grew up and where some still find themselves trapped. An aging environmentalist takes out his frustration and anger on a singular, unsuspecting target. One woman helps another get revenge against a man whose crime extends far beyond him to an entire community. Together, the ten stories in this dazzling, surprising collection evoke a landscape that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has traveled the back roads and blue highways of America, and they completely capture the memorable characters who call it home.
About the Author
NICKOLAS BUTLER was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. His writings have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review Online, The Progressive, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Iowa Writers' Workshop and author of Shotgun Lovesongs, he currently lives in Wisconsin with his wife and their two children.