Andie's Reviews > Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout

Fire Season by Philip Connors
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's review
Jun 02, 2011

really liked it

This slim book is part memoir, part historical account of the job of "fire lookout", and part analysis of the blunders of human efforts at controlling nature, particularly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Personally, my favorite parts of the book by far were those details Connors' personal experience as a look out. The lookout's season is April through August, and the book is divided up into five sections, each surrounding a month and based off journals he wrote about his activities during those months as related to the job, with lots of history crammed in between anecdotes. Connors' writing is beautiful, poetic- I would look forward to another book from him. Such writing talent is rare among novelists, nevermind nonfiction writers. I particularly enjoyed his musings on solitude, as well as learning about his unique relationship with his wife and with his dog, Alice, who is his sole companion during these five months aside from the occasional visit from his wife or a random hiker.

I found the historical blurbs less interesting, if only because I feel that the writing in these sections was a little more dry and less colorful; however, still interesting and informative, and I especially enjoyed the excerpt about Kerouac's experience in the same job, though I have no particular affinity towards Kerouac.
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