The Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan

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ALA Notable Book; Mississippi Arts and Letters Fiction Award. Lewis Nordan's remarkable third novel, THE SHARPSHOOTER BLUES, is in part a meditation on America's love affair with blue-steel barrels and soft-tip bullets, and in part a look at the violence and loss that ensue when the guns come out to play one day in a small town. Just as his award-winning WOF WHISTLE illuminated the complexity of racism, Nordan's new novel shines the brilliant flash of gunfire on love--between fathers and sons, between husbands and wives, between gay lovers, and between friends. At its heart is Hydro Raney, a boy who's never grown up, a boy who wouldn't hurt a soul. In THE SHARPSHOOTER BLUES, Nordan once again makes us laugh; then our helpless laughter turns first into weeping and then into wonder. "A comedy at least half as divine--and dark--as Dante's own . . . a flat-out tour de force."--Lee K. Abbott, Miami Herald; "This is not just a good book, this is a marvelous book."-The Village Voice.

About Lewis Nordan

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Lewis Nordan (23 August 1939- ) Born in Forest, Mississippi, United States, he grew up in Itta Bena, Mississippi. In 1983, at age forty-five, Nordan published his first collection of stories, Welcome to the Arrow-Catcher Fair. The collection established him as a writer in the grotesque Southern tradition of William Faulkner, Erskine Caldwell, and Flannery O'Connor. It also established a place for Nordan's fiction, the fictional Arrow Catcher, Mississippi, a small town in the Mississippi Delta based loosely on Nordan's hometown of Itta Bena.After the short-story collection The All-Girl Football Team (1986) followed Music of the Swamp (1991), a novel/short-story cycle featuring Nordan's spiritual alter ego, the young Sugar Mecklin, as the protagonist. The book features aspects of magic realism that would become one of Nordan's trademarks, along with a peculiar mix of the tragic and the hilarious.Wolf Whistle (1993), Nordan's second novel, was both a critical and public success. It won the Southern Book Award and gained him a wider audience. The book deals with one of the most notorious racial subjects in recent Southern history: the murder of Emmett Till.The novel The Sharpshooter Blues (1995) is a lyrical meditation on America's gun culture, as well as another portrait of the grotesque lives in Itta Bena. With the coming-of-age novel Lightning Song (1997), Nordan moved from Itta Bena to the hill country of Mississippi. The novel still features Nordan's magic Mississippi realism, complete with singing llamas and poetic lightning strikes.In 2000, Nordan published a "fictional memoir," Boy With Loaded Gun.Before retiring in 2005, Lewis Nordan lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he taught Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh.
Published January 10, 1995 by Algonquin Books. 291 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Sharpshooter Blues

Kirkus Reviews

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Nordan (Wolf Whistle, 1993, etc.) boldly goes where his betters (Faulkner, Welty, O'Connor) have gone before.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Sharpshooter Blues

Publishers Weekly

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The South is a country like no other, as we have learned from Faulkner and Welty and O'Connor, and Nordan (Wolf Whistle) is one of the best contemporary writers to portray its people. He does so with

Jan 09 1995 | Read Full Review of The Sharpshooter Blues

Publishers Weekly

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The semimystical state in which characters undergo magical metamorphoses or see visions, and the inappropriate conversation in the face of death (which Nordan intends as gallant but which comes across as grotesque), sometimes veer toward caricature.

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Poignant like The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and off-center like the best of Flannery O'Connor, this bittersweet novel revisits Arrow Catcher, Miss., the setting of Nordan's acclaimed 1994 novel Wolf Whistle.

Jan 15 1996 | Read Full Review of The Sharpshooter Blues

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