Michelle LeBeau, the child of a white American father and a Japanese mother, lives with her grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin—a small town that had been entirely white before her arrival. Rejected and bullied, Michelle spends her time reading, avoiding fights, and roaming the countryside with her English Springer Spaniel, Brett. She idolizes her grandfather, Charlie LeBeau, an expert hunter and former minor league baseball player who is one of the town’s most respected men. Charlie strongly disapproved of his son’s marriage to Michelle’s mother but dotes on his only grandchild, whom he calls Mikey.
This fragile peace is threatened when the expansion of the local clinic leads to the arrival of the Garretts, a young black couple from Chicago. Betty Garrett is hired as a nurse, and her husband, Joe, works as a substitute teacher at the elementary school. The Garretts’ presence deeply upsets most of the residents of Deerfield—especially when Mr. Garrett makes a controversial accusation against one of the town leaders, who is also Charlie LeBeau’s best friend.
In the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird, A River Runs Through It, and Snow Falling on Cedars, Nina Revoyr’s new novel examines the effects of change on a small, isolated town, the strengths and limits of community, and the sometimes conflicting loyalties of family and justice. Set in the expansive countryside of Central Wisconsin, against the backdrop of Vietnam and the post-Civil Rights era, Wingshooters explores both connection and loss as well as the complex but enduring bonds of family.
PRAISE & REVIEWS
“Remarkable…[an] accomplished story of family and the dangers of complacency in the face of questionable justice.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Revoyr writes rhapsodically of…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.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Hauntingly provocative…an excellent choice for book discussion groups.”
“Gripping and insightful.”
“A searing, anguished novel….The narration and pace are expertly calibrated as it explores a topic one wishes still wasn’t so current.”
—Los Angeles Times
“A beautiful, heartbreaking story. Revoyr has written a searing portrait of the all-too-recent past, of a place where change comes slowly and painfully, and of a girl just trying to find her own space in the world.”
“The racism (Revoyr) depicts is disheartening; the loss of innocence she chronicles is shattering; the love shared between a fallible man and his granddaughter is remarkable.”
—Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
“Much can be said and commended about the book’s themes of loyalty and love…I’ll just say that this author is a big talent. Her book is a little thing of beauty. It’s a story with American historical significance; it’s a novel with emotional heft; it’s a satisfying read in the spirit of what Picasso said about another writer, James Joyce: “The incomprehensible that everyone can understand.”
“Nina Revoyr is one of my favorite writers. What I admire most is the compassion she shows for her often flawed characters. 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