- Title: The Hearts of Men
- Author: Nickolas Butler
- ISBN: 9780062469700
- Page: 454
- Format: ebook
Camp Chippewa, 1962 Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan.Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while JoCamp Chippewa, 1962 Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan.Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and turns his father s business into a highly profitable company And when something unthinkable happens at a camp get together with Nelson as Scoutmaster and Jonathan s teenage grandson and daughter in law as campers, the aftermath demonstrates the depths and the limits of Nelson s selflessness and bravery.The Hearts of Men is a sweeping, panoramic novel about the slippery definitions of good and evil, family and fidelity, the challenges and rewards of lifelong friendships, the bounds of morality and redemption.
Recent Comments "The Hearts of Men"
More than 4 stars, maybe 4.25?At the risk of sounding like a total stalker, I would follow Nickolas Butler nearly to the ends of the earth in order to read his writing. I devoured his debut novel, Shotgun Lovesongs (see my original review), while on a not-particularly long plane ride, and was equally infatuated with his story collection, Beneath the Bonfire (see my original review). Butler's books made my lists of the best books I read in 2014 and my favorite books of 2015, respectively.While hi [...]
This book started off strong, but section by section, it grew weaker and weaker until it ended on a disappointing note. I really hate when that happens since I had such high hopes for this book at the beginning with its sympathetic main character, Nelson Doughty. The story began in Wisconsin in 1962 when Nelson was 13. He was a bright and sensitive boy. He was also an overachiever and an outcast, lonely, but hopeful of gaining a friend. And he seemed to have found one in Jonathan, an older and p [...]
”The Bugler needs no alarm.” Nelson is the Bugler in that sentence, a thirteen-year-old Boy Scout who does not fail to rise before the sun. It is his duty at Camp Chippewa to blow the brass horn that will start the day. Doing so will win him no friends, this young boy with a sash full of badges, and a heart with a code of ethics. As much as he desires to join others, he is set apart by those things. Jonathan is the only other boy, two years his senior, a popular jock, who would take the time [...]
Yeah yeah, I know it's supposed to be critical of uber-masculinity and all that, but honestly I found it incredibly misogynistic and offputting.
Full disclosure: I read and loved SHOTGUN LOVESONGS, Nick Butler's previous novel, and I read and loved his stories, BENEATH THE BONFIRE, too. The stories are searing little nesting dolls of beauty and calamity; SHOTGUN LOVESONGS is a kind of bravura tightrope act that somehow manages to edge up against melodrama without ever giving in to the saccharine. It's a full-on character-driven opera with a superstar indie rocker and his old-school high-school buddies at its core, and it doubles down and [...]
Nope. Nope. Nope nope nope. Men: Stop. Using. Rape. As. A. Plot. Device.I don't mind stories about men. Stories about Straight White Men though are in a different realm. I'm not saying that all fiction revolving around Straight White Men is bad. Some of it can be good! But I had some other issues with this novel, especially its treatment of women as objects to be heroically saved or used as a sad plot device to give the men in this book personalities. Nelson's mother: a woman who Nelson is suppo [...]
I'm torn about this book. He's a talented writer, and I enjoyed the premise. But there was only one likable character. Are men really that terrible? Is the entire gender totally lacking in morals or self-discipline? Oh, and the worst father of the year award goes to Jonathan Quick, who corrupts his son just so he will no longer be able to judge him. The parents in this were all terrible. According to Butler, the hearts of men are conniving and craven and greedy. Too depressing for me. And the en [...]
Nelson Doughty is 13-years old and lives life as an outcast among his peers. We meet him at Boy Scout Camp Chippewa in northern Wisconsin in 1962. Nelson is called the "Bugler" because he wakes the camp with reveille and closes it with taps each day. Nelson sleeps in a tent alone, and one of his few friends is an older boy, Jonathan Quick. Jonathan and some other boys become involved in a brutal act of bullying toward Nelson. This is the climax of the first part of the book.Nelson and Jonathan r [...]
I can very much relate to anyone who achieved a few years of frozen adolescence. My perspective is of course not the same as the protagonist whose structure was that of an Eagle Scout working with a more absolute moral code.** This is the highlight book of the year for me. The book proved over and over the kind of self sufficiency that comes from training for any situation and for having a vast range of survival skills. This book has so many human elements, lots of heart, and makes one nostalgic [...]
Oh dear! I think this book suffered from my too high an expectation - a little like George Saunders' Lincoln in the Bardo. But while Lincoln in the Bardo is original and ambitious, The Hearts of Men is disappointingly pedestrian.I had good reason to expect better: Shotgun Lovesongs was my favourite book of 2014 - by far - and Nickolas Butler's collection of short stories, Beneath the Bonfire, showed him to be a masterful writer with a firm grip on both human frailty and inner strength. The Heart [...]
Normally I enjoy a book where most of the characters are unpleasant but I just plain didn't enjoy this. Only veered from unpleasant for short detours into boring. Would totally have preferred one main character, one main story than the successive, generational stories.
First appeared at thenewdorkreviewofbooksNickolas Butler writes with more empathy and feeling for his characters — even those who act like jerks — than just about any novelist I've ever read. That was definitely true in Shotgun Lovesongs — one of my favorite books of the last five years. It's true in his terrific story collection, Beneath the Bonfire. And it's perhaps most true in his new novel, The Hearts of Men.This is readily apparent in one of the opening scenes of this fantastic, hear [...]
, I really need half-stars because this is a pretty firm 3.5. Anyway. Butler has a tender and compelling voice, which is the reason this book works. The narrative is loose enough that it feels more like a collection of short stories about people who happen to know each other than a novel, but the consistency of the tone, tenor, and quality of prose holds it all together. Butler also has an excellent sense of time and place. Though I, obviously, was never a boy scout, I did attend the same summer [...]
This is a strange book, and looking back it, surprisingly readable as it first I had thought it would be predictable, and it certainly wasn't that. Set in the Wisconsin backcountry, where the author lived for many years, the book tells of 3 generations of scouts at Camp Chippewa. Though the book starts in 1962, few books are set in the very near future, 2019 is the last of the generations. Throughout the three generations of adolescent boys in the summer break earning their badges and 'being pre [...]
Didn't want it to end. Took me back to Wisconsin and I could smell the crisp air, pine trees, camp fires. A story to explain what makes a man a "good" man. I loved Shotgun Love Songs and didn't splurge on buying this one as afraid of the second effort not measuring up. It measured up and surpassed. Mr. Butler is now on my to buy list without questions asked.
Nelson is a boy scout who wants to become and Eagle scout and has more badges than anyone else in his troop. This should make him the envy of others, but he is made fun of, distrusted and bullied. He also becomes the "snitch" or the "good boy", depending on whose perspective you are hearing. Nelson's father is a difficult man but his mother loves him very much. The first part of the story follows Nelson and his boy scout and home life as well as some of the other boys. This part reveals the hear [...]
Great coming-of-age book centered on boys. Men growing up, emulating their fathers (or not); men shaped by their experiences. It talks a lot about what men truly desire in their hearts. In its core is goodness, selfishness, forgiveness, carelesssness and many more.
I liked this story very much with a few reservations that are more of a personal choice, than any criticism of the writing or story. It is an interesting coming-of-age tale and I did not feel any impatience or boredom for even one page.The first third or more of the story concentrates on a teenager, Nelson Daughty. Nelson is kind- hearted and an overachiever, but very, very naive. For whatever reasons, he cannot overcome (although he knows what makes him unappealing) what makes others bully him. [...]
This book has an incredible mix of small scale and grand scale, as we're focusing largely on members of two families living mainly in rural Wisconsin, but over the course of 70 years, and some of these family members had some remote travel which changed their narratives. It's about a boy scout camp, and two boys who became friends in 1962. It's about bullying and following rules. It's about war and what it does to people to survive one. It's about marriage and raising kids. Its about how men tre [...]
La puntuación real sería 3,5 y ahora explico el por qué. El libro es bueno, pero es muy tremendo de Dios. Lo encontré demasiado deprimente y triste en general. Habla de hombres, de tres generaciones de hombres y de sus desgracias, porque todos hasta el más recto tiene sus miserias y es desconsolador como lo plantea.Prefiero mil veces Canciones de amor a quemarropa, este me ha dejado un poso amargo, de hecho de haberlo sabido creo que no lo hubiera leído.
I loved Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler and was anxious to read his new book. Thanks to winning a giveaway, I didn't have to wait until publication day and was able to read this fantastic book early.This is a wonderful coming of age story about boys. It highlights three different generations of males at a camp in Wisconsin. It also shows how bullying someone as a teen affects their later years. It is beautifully written with fantastic characters. I wish that my grandson was a little older [...]
Als jüngster Teilnehmer im Pfadfinderlager und Trompeter für den morgendlichen Weckruf hat Nelson eine Sonderrolle. Ob ein eigenes Zelt ein Privileg ist, wenn in der Wildnis Wisconsins nachts ein Stachelschwein vor der Latrine herum raschelt, darüber kann man geteilter Meinung sein. Nelson ist nicht gefragt worden, ob er Pfadfinder sein möchte. Vater und Großvater waren schon dabei und betrachteten das Leben als Pfadfinder schlicht als Teil der Erziehung eines Mannes, der später in die US- [...]
3.5 Nobody writes male friendship or father-son relationships like Nickolas Butler. He has a true gift for it and I love it. This book interrogates what it is to be a 'good man'. It's complex and honest. It doesn't quite reach the same heights as Shotgun Lovesongs but it gets close. I found the final two sections a little disappointing.
This book is deceptive in scope. It begins as the simple story of Nelson Doughty, a kid from 1962 Wisconsin with a bad home life who earnestly tries to live a life governed by the Boy Scout creed and merit badge achievements, but who other boys see as too uptight, a civic striver in a changing world. His only friend is Jonathan Quick, who is popular with boys and parents alike, but is deep down somewhat shiftless. A memorable 1962 scout camp experience in the Wisconsin north woods reveals deeper [...]
I read this in two sittings, and I wish I'd read it in one. So profoundly beautiful, both on a line level and in terms of the larger story arc. This book captures time, place, and character perfectly. A book full of heart. I can't recommend enough.
While at camp in 1962, two Boy Scouts become friends but their relationship and moral code are affected by the challenges life throws at them over the course of several decades. The first section, which begins in 1962 and follows a young outcast's difficult relationship with his father and his traumatic experiences at camp, was absolutely compelling. But, once it flashed forward, I didn't think it had nearly the same pull and it was largely disappointing. Overall, a well-written novel with varie [...]
This book follows a kid's Boy Scout experience from the time he is a young teenager in the 60s through his experience as Scoutmaster of the camp in Wisconsin in his later years. Nelson is such an admirable, virtuous character that his lifelong friendship with Jonathan really confused me. I despised Jonathan. Most overused phrase in the book: "You are a good boy." I began to cringe every time it came up. I can't even explain why it bothered me so much.
I love books with complicated, nuanced characters, especially scenic books with complicated, nuanced characters. The first part of the book, where we encounter the desperate, competent, friendless Nelson, checks those boxes. He is an utterly heartbreaking boy, and his suffering is keenly felt. But this book is a "multi-generational saga" (does that seem like the hot phrase of the publishing industry right now?), and we move on and see Nelson again only from other lenses. I struggled to understan [...]
4.5 -- where I want to round up to 5 for scoring.I felt attached to these characters, and felt for these characters and, it gets a good grade if for nothing else than the following, gut punch of a quote:"Nelson really had no idea what would make his father proud of him, or even what such pride would look like - let alone feel like. A hug, perhaps? More likely: a firm handshake and a grim smile."
3.5Con las novelas de Butler me pasa que me engancho mucho, las leo del tirón y bastante rápido, pero después de acabarlas les encuentro puntos flacos. Me ha gustado la historia y se lee bien, pero los personajes no me acaban de parecer del todo creíbles, y me pasó algo parecido con 'Canciones de amor a quemarropa'
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