Whitetail Shooting Gallery, a new novel from award-winning author and Giller Prize nominee, Annette Lapointe, is set in the outer urban, often desolate, landscape of the Saskatchewan prairie.
Cousins Jennifer and Jason live close together as small kids, exploring their rural home. They live in adjacent, sometimes overlapping, households. But one act of family violence begets another, and the cousins drift apart. By adolescence, the two are estranged. Jennifer grows closer to her best friend, Donna, an evangelical minister’s daughter who rebels against her family by immersing herself in a world of vectors, fractals, perfect math, and porn.
Jason’s world is hockey. Donna likes his street-hockey bruises. Jason’s also interested in Gordon, a semi-recluse ex-teacher who lives on the periphery of town and constructs art installations from leather, tamarack, animal skulls, and other found items.
Horses, bears, kissing cousins, and other human animals conspire in a series of conflicts that result in accidental gunfire and scarring—both physical and emotional—that takes many years to heal.
Praise for Whitetail Shooting Gallery:
“Imagine Alissa York’s Fauna but in rural Saskatchewan and with all the sentimentality stripped away. Imagine lots of sex, kissing cousins, a gunshot to the face, and a set of teeth that get kicked in over and over again. Imagine a family farmhouse, country roads, the kind of place you might want to move to raise your kids if you don’t look too closely. The hockey player, the pastor’s daughter, how he’s giving blow jobs to his teammates, and she’s having sex with her best friend. … Whitetail Shooting Gallery baffled me thoughout, disturbed and troubled me, but it also intrigued me, continually surprised me, never stopped me wondering what would happen next. It’s an anti-pastoral, a complicated portrayal of rural life. … Annette Lapointe’s literary reputation was established with Stolen, which was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2006. And here in her second book, she’s turning Can-Lit on its head, challenging not only her readers’ sensibilities, but also ideas about what a novel should be. And the latter seems to be a requirement for the kind of book that I like best.”
—Pickle Me This (blog)
“Wintry, notably offbeat, written with an elegant precision, and at times slyly funny … Lapointe’s beautiful treatment of poète maudit subject matter never fails to impress.”
—The Vancouver Sun
“a moody, atmospheric portrait of small-town life … the author’s talent for descriptive, evocative prose compels the reader forward. She imbues the sparse landscape of Jenn and Jason’s prairie surroundings with an eerie, sad beauty.”
—Foreword Magazine (USA)
“… Lapointe is an intense social critic with a compelling coming-of-age story.”
“In Whitetail Shooting Gallery, Lapointe gives us an animalistic view of the teen world. This is not small-town rural life as idyllic or pastoral. Lapointe’s world reflects the turmoil, raging emotions and hormones brewing inside adolescents. … the plot is almost secondary to Lapointe’s vivid, powerful voice and her beautifully savage view of rural prairie life.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“Lapointe lines the path to truth with beautiful and complicated weirdoes, who make getting lost a bizarre and fascinating journey.”
—Devin Pacholik, pagesandpatches.blogspot.ca
“Whitetail Shooting Gallery is filled with great character moments … Aside from its characters, there are also a lot of amazingly evocative images present. Lapointe takes an ordinarily uninteresting — not to mention unoriginal — subject, rural coming-of-age, strips it down to its bones, and works some kind of gory magic on the remains. The whole thing gives the impression of newness and discovery — usually painful, sexual, or both. … it’s a peculiar gem.”
—The Muse (Memorial University)
Praise for Annette’s previous novel, Stolen:
“The Saskatoon writer’s exceptional first novel should be taught in high schools…”
—The Globe & Mail
“It moves with the force of what’s right and true and must not be elided.”
—Giller Prize Jury
Annette Lapointe was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on the coldest day of 1978, which might explain her ongoing affinity for the prairies. She lived in rural Saskatchewan, Quebec City, St John’s, Winnipeg, Seoul and Jinju in South Korea, before migrating to Grande Prairie, AB, where it’s cold most of the time but the wildlife comes right up to the door and asks to come in.
Her first novel, Stolen (2006), was nominated for a Giller Prize and was the Winner of two Saskatchewan Book Awards (First Book Award and Saskatoon Book Award). A Finalist for the Books in Canada First Novel Award, as well as being cited as a Globe & Mail Top 5 First Fiction choice, Stolen also garnered Lapointe a Canadian Authors Association-BookTV Emerging Writer award. Her second novel, Whitetail Shooting Gallery (2012), was a finalist for the McNally Robinson Book of the Year.
Lapointe completed her PhD in Contemporary Literature in 2010. She currently teaches at Grande Prairie Regional College.