Shotgun Lovesongs (Butler) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
1. Many of the characters in Shotgun Lovesongs regret specific moments in their life, moments that (perhaps) other people may not regret at all. Do you feel regret is a useful emotion? What do you regret? Which characters (and their regrets) do you identify with?

2. Late in the novel, Lee makes a particular observation about what he thinks America is. Do you feel that his perspective is at odds with your own notions of what America is? Or do you agree with him?

3. Many critics and early readers of Shotgun Lovesongs have remarked that it is a novel that explores adult male friendships. And yet, perhaps at the heart of the story is Beth (and she is given her own voice in the novel). How did you feel about Butler’s representation of women? Was it accurate?

4. Fame seems to be an important theme or consideration throughout Shotgun Lovesongs. Do you feel that the novel critiques fame? Celebrates fame? What do you think about the cult of personality in America? Do you care about celebrity? Read tabloids? Why?

5. Some critics have said that Shotgun Lovesongs is overly sentimental, even "precious"? Do you think this novel is sentimental? Is sentimentality something to be altogether avoided in fiction?

6. Beth and Leland share one night of romance. This incident happened when neither character was married or even dating someone. And yet, it is enough to unravel lifelong friendships. What do you think about this? Could you relate to characters and their reactions?

7. There is a kind of dichotomy in this novel between city and country. Has your own life been subject to the push-pull of living rural vs. living urban? What have you had to sacrifice to live where you live? Do you see it as a sacrifice?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

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