Description from Amazon;
"Hallucinating between childhood and manhood, Eddie Burnett is both hero and anti-hero in this hard-hitting collection of linked stories. Coming of age in California's post-war suburbs and freefalling through the turbulence of the sixties and early seventies, Eddie's transformation from a boy's innocence to a man's hardened wariness is captured in lyrical, emotionally raw episodes. He navigates the minefields of American masculinity in a series of disturbing, yet strangely uplifting odysseys, from hope to despair and back again."
Winged Shoes and a Shield collects Don Bajema's first two books, Boy in the Air and Reach. If you're not familiar with Bajema then you need to pick up this book.
I picked up Boy in the Air after getting the spoken word collection Our Fathers Who Aren't in Heaven (Widow Speak) which featured Bajema, Lydia Lunch, Henry Rollins, and Hubert Selby. As much as I love the other three Bajema's set had a greatest impact on me.
Boy in the Air was a landmark book for me. At the time I read it I felt like a complete fucking failure as a writer. I'd just finished reading Selby's The Demon which made everything I was doing seem childish and pointless. I went six months without writing when I started reading Boy.
What Bajema did for me was shout from ringside to keep fighting, even if I was going to lose, even if I was going to get my nose broke and lose all my teeth, I had to keep fighting. And so I did. I don't know if I'll ever do anything that can touch Don or Selby, but by God I'll die trying.
Boy and Reach are to of my most treasured books. I've reread them numerous times and have excitedly recommended them to anyone I know. Just read Spilt Milk from Reach, there is magic in those words.