By Christine Byl
Set in rural Montana, Lookout centers on the dual coming-of-age of a girl and her father amid the natural and cultural forces that shape their family.
Publication Date: March 14, 2023
Lookout tells the story of the Kinzlers, a working-class family firmly rooted in Northwest Montana. Set beneath big skies and spanning four decades, Lookout is an unvarnished look at contemporary life in the rural mountain west, and the interior worlds of people who are different than their surfaces imply. Josiah & Margaret Kinzler have forged an unusual bond that honors both tenderness and solitude; their daughters, Cody and Louisa, grow up watching their parents navigate what it means to be true to yourself, and what that costs.
The core of the book is a dual coming-of-age: Cody’s from stoic ranch kid to a resilient woman learning to lean on others, and Josiah’s as he struggles to thrive in a world that has misunderstood him. Bound by their love of the land, the Kinzlers work to bridge the gaps created by the secrets they keep from one another. Lookout brings to life a family at home in a nuanced American West, at the conjunction of the outer world with inner lives.
Christine Byl is the author of Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods (Beacon Press, 2013), a book about trail crews, tools, wildness, gender, and labor; it was shortlisted for the 2014 Willa Award in nonfiction. Christine has worked as a professional trail-builder for 25+ years. She lives with her family in Interior Alaska on the traditional lands of the Dene.