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Wingshooters Paperback – February 8, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Revoyr continues her unique and affecting exploration of American racism in a concentrated novel that draws breathtaking contrasts between all that is beautiful in life and the malignancy of hate. Charlie, an alpha blue-collar male and a bigot like his buddies, is horrified when his son marries a Japanese exchange student. Yet when nine-year-old Michelle, his only grandchild, is abandoned by her estranged and feckless parents and left with her grandparents in their small, xenophobic Wisconsin town, Charlie loves her without restraint. As Deerhorn�s first and only person of color, Michelle is subjected to constant insults and assaults, so Charlie teaches her to fight and shoot a gun, as well as to appreciate nature and play baseball. He calls her Mike, and she is beyond tomboyish, roaming the countryside with her only friend, her dog. Then the Garretts, an African American couple��she�s a nurse; he�s a teacher��arrive and ignite the town�s worst fears and fury. Revoyr writes rhapsodically of a young girl�s enthrallment to the natural world and charts, with rising intensity, her resilient narrator�s painful awakening to human failings and senseless violence. In this shattering northern variation on To Kill a Mockingbird, Revoyr drives to the very heart of tragic ignorance, unreason, and savagery. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Nina Revoyr is one of my favorite writers . . . Wingshooters is a gem of a novel--filled with beautiful language, thoughtful observations on life, deep heartache, and determined acceptance."
--Lisa See, author of Shanghai Girls

"Nina Revoyr's young protagonist and her searing, skillfully told story are unforgettable. Don't miss it."
--Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children's Defense Fund
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books; First Printing edition (February 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936070715
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936070718
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #265,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nina Revoyr is the author of four novels--The Necessary Hunger (1997), Southland (2003), The Age of Dreaming (2008), and Wingshooters (2011). Southland was a BookSense 76 pick, Edgar Award finalist, winner of the Lambda Literary Award, and a Los Angeles Times "Best Book" of 2003. The Age of Dreaming was a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Wingshooters, Nina's new novel, is an IndieBound Indie Next selection and a Midwest Connections Pick for March, 2011. It is also one of Oprah: The O Magazine's "10 Titles to Pick Up Now" for March, 2011.

Nina was born in Tokyo and raised in Japan, Wisconsin, and Los Angeles, where she currently lives. She is an avid hiker, Green Bay Packers fan, Lakers fan, and lover of baseball (especially the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Really, that's their name.) She also loves dogs. A lot. When not writing or working, she is usually busy chasing around her English Springer Spaniel, Russell, or her Border Collie, Ariat.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Free2Read on February 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
Nina Revoyr writes of our modern society through the close examination of families. These families are often bi-racial, exposing the underlying tension in schools and towns when a "foreigner" arrives.

Her new novel, "Wingshooters" takes place in the small Wisconsin town of Deerhorn. A white husband and his Japanese wife bring their little girl, Michelle, to meet her white grandparents. Her grandfather, Charlie, falls in love with the woebegone child; her grandmother doesn't quite know what to say or do except feed people. Michelle stays on with her grandparents. She is mocked at school, bullied by other children and teachers, simply because she is new to them, someone who doesn't look like them.

Michelle yearns for her father, supposedly off looking for her mother, who has left them. She loves to spend time in the woods with her grandpa, learning about the fish and the trees, the natural beauty. Above all, she loves her grandfather's hunting dog, Brett. And like any much-loved dog, he loves her back with his entire dog heart.

Things move along quietly as Michelle observes the townspeople, the way the men interact at the coffee shop, the way the women are not approachable even at church.

Then, a black couple, both highly educated, attractive, good people come to Deerhorn. The wife is a nurse, who helps in the expanding clinic. The husband is to sub at Michelle's school. Both Mr. and Mrs. Garrett comport themselves with dignity, doing their jobs and trying to live within the constraints of this small town. Michelle is shocked at the venom in her Grandfather Charlie's voice as he talks about people's "place" in society.

The storm of distrust and hatred builds to a boiling point.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It's shocking that the simple color of one's skin can mean so much. "Wingshooters" follows Michelle, daughter of a Japanese and White couple who move into an all white town in Wisconsin. Ostracized by the town for being half-Asian, she secludes herself with little friends except for her grandfather, who hates the marriage of his American son and her Asian mother. When a black family moves into town, the racial tensions reach higher as injustice quickly enters the equation. "Wingshooters" is a riveting novel small town racial tensions, enthusiastically recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lena M. Irish on August 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
Nina Revoyr once again delivers a compelling portrayal of American racism in her most recent novel, Wingshooters. The protagonist is Michelle, a nine year old girl that is transplanted to Wisconsin to live with her grandparents after being abandoned by her estranged and irresponsible parents. She is the product of her father's marriage to a Japanese exchange student. This marriage is not accepted by his bigoted father, Charlie. In fact, Charlie is horrified by his son's decision and it is quite a shock to the reader when Charlie and his wife accept Michelle into their home.

Set in the early 1970s, Deerhorn, Wisconsin is a small town with a small town mentality. As Deerhorn's first and only person of color, Michelle is constantly ridiculed and insulted by her peers as well as adults. In order to defend herself, Charlie teaches her to fight and to shoot a gun and this time spent together grows into her sharing his appreciation of nature and outdoor sports, like hunting and baseball. He calls her Mike, as she has grown into quite the tomboy, sharing most of her afternoons with the family dog, the only friend she has. Things begin to change when the Garretts, an African-American couple arrive and stir up the town's fears of anyone that looks differently than they do. Michelle acquires a secret fondness of both Mr. & Mrs. Garrett sharing with them a commonality that only the three of them can.

Ms. Revoyr's writing immediately drew me in and allowed me to connect to the character of Michelle as I empathized with her daily trials and wanted to jump into the pages and help her, especially when she had to witness senseless acts of violence and experience the failings of parental responsibilities and human character.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By book concierge on June 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
I have heard this book compared to To Kill a Mockingbird; I think that comparison holds up pretty well.

Michelle LeBeau has a white father and a Japanese mother, but lives with her grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin, where she is the only "colored" person in town. Her grandfather, Charlie LeBeau, is one of the town's most respected men. A bigot who strongly disapproves of his son's interracial marriage, he nevertheless dotes on his only grandchild. Everything changes in the summer of 1974 when the local clinic expands, resulting in the arrival of Mr and Mrs Garrett - a young black couple from Chicago. Charlie and his friends are incensed and voice their prejudice at every opportunity. Mikey is uniquely able to understand the isolation the Garretts feel, and is drawn to them.

The beauty of this novel is that while it deals with tragedy, Revoyr also is writing about a young child who feels loved and protected by her grandparents, a child who enjoys the outdoors and the freedom to explore the sights, sounds and smells of the country. Michelle has a front-row seat to the happenings in town, and observes the people she knows and loves as their darkest faults come to light. She also begins to recognize what true courage looks like, and the reader can only hope that she will chose carefully which traits to emulate.

Revoyr mines her own childhood for this exploration of family values as much as it is of racism in America. Clearly the isolation her character feels is what Revoyr herself felt in the few years she spent in central Wisconsin as a child (See this story - [...]
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