"A first-rate story-teller."
"Lookout is an unforgettable novel, both stunning and subtle, written with nuance and compassion. This astonishing novel of work, love, community and forgiveness in 20th-century rural Montana will leave readers forever changed for the better.”
LOOKOUT is on the short-list for the Center for Fiction's 2023 First Novel prize!
You can mail order Lookout from Bookshop.org, directly from Deep Vellum/A Strange Object, or at Amazon. Best of all, ask your local bookstore to order you a copy. Ask your library to carry it. Thank you for supporting independent booksellers whenever possible!
Christine Byl's debut novel, Lookout, about a close-knit but complicated rural family in Western Montana, spans the latter half of the 20th century & the beginning of the next. Lookout retools the mythic American west to encompass the social and emotional pressures that underlie a family's life on the land.
For more information, to pre-order, and to read early reviews, please visit Lookout.
Byl’s gift to readers is refusal of stereotype and received language about a place often and easily stereotyped. In the absence of labels for what we think we ought to know about place and people, Byl allows a world of nuance to come to life.
--Jessica Johnson, Terrain.org
“The sense of community, family, and buried secrets at its heart is almost tactile in its presence. A deeply felt, unconventionally told family story.”
"Byl's slow-burning and poignant debut novel follows a Montana family across decades (and) gently excavates (a) complicated interior life. Readers will find much to savor."
Christine's first book is a memoir-natural history-ethnographic hybrid based in her years working on trail crews in Montana & Alaska. In interlocking narratives both hilarious and contemplative, it showcases a unique subculture and opens a larger conversation on tools, wildness, animals, gender, labor, place, work & community. Dirt Work was a finalist for the Willa Award in non-fiction; a Shelf Awareness top 10 NF books of 2013; an Amazon editors' choice; and recipient of many other distinctions. In addition, it has become a word-of-mouth classic among trail crews across the country.
Find out more at Dirt Work and Reviews.