In the vein of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” Nina Revoyr creates in “Wingshooters” an atmospheric piece of fiction that peers into the issue of racism in a descriptive setting—rich in Americana. The book concerns Michelle LeBeau, who is the daughter of a Japanese mother, and a white American father.
Born in Japan, Michelle returns with her father to his white-dominated, narrow-minded Wisconsin town after her mother leaves the family. She feels alienated, avoiding most of the people in the town, except for her grandfather, Charlie LeBeau who loves her unconditionally while being critical of her father’s marriage. Just as things seem to be settling down, a highly educated African-American family (the Garretts) moves to the town, creating a high level of tension and discomfort for the all-white townsfolk.
    Revoyr creates a surprisingly layered story about racism and prejudice with the two families of outsiders. Michelle is absolutely shocked by the level of malice in her neighbors, especially in her grandfather Charlie, who attempts to instruct Michelle about people’s “place” in society.
The tension between the townsfolk, the LeBeaus, and the Garretts slowly rises, and ultimately reaches a boiling point—leading, of course, to senseless acts of violence. Revoyr’s writing is vibrant and rich, and does well to paint a full image of a small town going through a series of changes. Character exposition is also done quite well: take, for example, the story of Michelle’s grandfather: “My grandfather never fought in a war. He was too young for the first great conflict in Europe, which took his father’s brother, and too old for World War II. And he never held a position—say, sheriff or lawyer—that placed him above other men. No, Charlie LeBeau worked the same, unforgiving, muscular jobs—at the meat processing plant, the car parts shop, the Stevenson shoe factory—that the other men did, but he always seemed larger than them, heroic.” Wingshooters is an excellent story and parable.

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