This year, I’m counting down the 12 books I most enjoyed during 2015. As always, they’re books I read this year but they were not necessarily published this year. But books never go out of fashion so let’s not worry about that.
In Nickolas Butler’s Shotgun Lovesongs, four men return to their rural Wisconsin hometown and find that adult friendships have a quite different complexion to those we develop in our youth. The resulting story verges on sentimental but I was really struck by the quiet tenderness in the way Butler describes male friendship – unusual in literature – and was moved by the hurt the four men inflict on one another as they try to navigate adulthood.
There’s a song by Elbow – also a little sentimental – called Dear Friends, which goes: Dear friends / You are angels and drunks / You are Maji/ Old friends / You stuck a pin in the map I was in / And you are the stars I navigate home by. It makes me want to be in the company of those who’ve known me longest and so did this book.