From the bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs, an epic, multi- generational novel of friendships and families intertwined with a beloved Boy Scout summer camp in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.
Camp Chippewa, 1962. Thirteen-year-old Nelson Doughty, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning. Quiet, reserved, and coping with a broken home, Nelson finds he has more in common with the old scoutmaster than the boys his age who seem to have an endless supply of merciless bullying in store for him. Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan, who on his part finds he has much to learn from Nelson, not least about how to confront the limitations of his own courage and empathy.
Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan turns his father's business into a highly profitable company and marries and divorces more than once. The differences that distinguished Nelson and Jonathan as teenagers percolate into adulthood as both must reconcile the men who they've become with the men who they thought they'd be. But the two stay linked by Jonathan's son and, later, his grandson, both of whom find their way to their own defining summers at Camp Chippewa. And when something unthinkable happens at a camp get-together with Nelson as scoutmaster and Jonathan's teenage grandson and daughter-in-law in attendance, the aftermath demonstrates the depths--and the limits--of Nelson's selflessness and bravery.
In beautiful and evocative prose brimming with the same warmth that defined his earlier work, Nickolas Butler's second novel gives us a sweeping, panoramic story about family and fidelity, the challenges and rewards of lifelong friendships, and the bounds of morality and redemption.show more