A Student of History
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About the Author
"In many ways, A Student of History adopts the familiar structure of the bildungsroman; like other classic novels before it, such as Sentimental Education and Great Expectations, we witness an earnest young man enter a hitherto unexplored sphere of luxury and privilege. Indeed, part of the pleasure of reading the novel is inhabiting that familiar structure, knowing all the while Richard will likely end his term among high society with a sense that perhaps he has lost more than he has gained. Yet by placing the novel in so specific a milieu--Los Angeles in 2019, an era where Americans are feeling the class divide more than ever--Revoyr forges a work that stands on its own. If the book's ambitions prove modest, it feels entirely appropriate, considering Richard's ultimate discovery that sometimes a modest life lived well--far from society luncheons and award ceremonies--is good enough."
"A perfect snapshot of nature tamed and bent toward a very particular world vision, and a perfectly uncanny first image for Revoyr's unsettling tale of Los Angeles across the eras, always glittering, always hiding something corrupt."
--CrimeReads, included in The 5 Best Book Covers of March
"[Revoyr's] sixth and latest novel...explores the familiar themes of class, race, and the economic contradictions of living in Los Angeles through the eyes of a thirty-something first-generation Japanese American humanities graduate student struggling to find value in his work--a character we don't meet every day in fiction or elsewhere in popular culture."
"Beautifully juxtaposed against a similar landscape of Los Angeles, A Student of History offers a voyeuristic look at the lessons one receives from life."
"In A Student of History, Revoyr's grad student protagonist Rick Nagano, broke and desperate, lands a sweet research assistant gig to one of Los Angeles' ultra-wealthy .01 percenters, only to discover the dark secrets underpinning his newly wealthy surroundings. A Student of History asks, what would you do to stay in school? And what would you cover up about someone else's past, in the service of your own future?"
--CrimeReads, included in A Brief History Of Academic Mysteries, Campus Thrillers, And Research Noir
Nina Revoyr has been named a notable author to watch in CrimeReads's Rising Stars of Crime Fiction in the 2010s!
Included in the Bay Area Reporter Pride 2019 Booklist
Included in the Baltimore Out Loud Pride 2019 Reading List
Included in the Peach ATL Pride 2019 Reading List
"Masterfully and intimately suspenseful...Shrewdly delineated scenes, loaded conversations, and a delirious surge of desire caustically expose [Los Angeles's] toxic ruling-class legacy of prejudice and entitlement, while stoking questions of privilege, trust, and betrayal. Wealth and power, Revoyr confirms in this taut, commanding, and delectable novel, are not shields against folly, crime, or sorrow."
--Booklist, STARRED review
"An entertaining, crisply written tale...evokes echoes of Great Expectations, The Great Gatsby, and a lot of Raymond Chandler, but with a thoroughly 21st-century setting...Revoyr's sleek prose and fast pacing move the reader through the sharply observed world of old money and the bad behavior it protects."
"Revoyr's quick plot keeps the pages turning."
"It's Great Expectations meets There Will Be Blood, but most of all, it's highly enjoyable."
--PureWow, recommended result after What Should You Read Next? (California Edition) quiz
"Revoyr's use of the first person is always on point; you're immediately aligned with Rick's perspective, and you want to know how things will turn out. You want him to somehow triumph in this world of the elite, even as you know things are hurtling toward some ignominious finish...[Revoyr is] one of the best 'regional' writers in Los Angeles. Every single work of hers has either been set or partially set in Los Angeles, and yet each novel has taken the city from a different angle and plumbs those depths."
--Asian American Literature Fans
"A deftly and elegantly crafted novel by a master of narrative storytelling and a genuine flair for originality."
--Midwest Book Review
"There is definitely something reminiscent of Nick Carraway in the way Rick cautiously inserts himself into a world of extreme wealth, privilege, and whiteness...This is a pulpy, entertaining mystery. If the premise grabs you, I recommend giving it a read."
"Revoyr's prose is excellent, and I was quickly drawn into the story, and carried along by the author's writing. Her characters are three-dimensional, realistic and interesting. A fascinating look at the monied elite of LA, and the altogether different (sometimes contradictory) codes by which they live. Definitely recommended."
"A Japanese-American graduate student from a working class background gets drawn into the dark secrets of entitled, old-money families that have dominated Los Angeles for generations."
--World Wide Work
"[A] fantastic read...On the afternoon this novel arrived on my doorstep...I opened the package and read the first page out of curiosity and then...kept reading. I never did finish my book club book but I did finish this novel the next day."
"While Revoyr has written a number of notable novels, for us, she is best known for Wingshooters, which takes place in Wisconsin. Like that novel, A Student of History. deftly touches on themes of social justice without seeming preachy...a solid page turner"
--Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee, WI) (staff pick)
"Nina Revoyr is one of Los Angeles's most sharp-eyed and penetrating chroniclers, and A Student of History only furthers her reputation. Part mystery, part sentimental education, this is a searing novel of thought-provoking complexity."
--Marisa Silver, author of Mary Coin
Critical Praise for Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr:
A Booklist Book of the Year 2011
Finalist for SCIBA's 2011 Fiction Award
Winner of the 2011 Midwest Booksellers Choice Award
Winner of the first annual Indie Booksellers Choice Award
Selected for IndieBound's March 2011 Indie Next List, "Great Reads from Booksellers You Trust"
Featured in O, The Oprah Magazine's March 2011 Reading Room section as one of "10 Titles to Pick Up Now"
"Revoyr does a remarkable job of conveying [protagonist] Michelle's lost innocence and fear through this accomplished story of family and the dangers of complacency in the face of questionable justice."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"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."
--Booklist (starred review)
"Hauntingly provocative...an excellent choice for book discussion groups as it will force readers to dig deep and look inward."
"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
"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.'"