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Extended Audio Sample Fire Season: Field Notes from a Wilderness Lookout, by Philip Connors Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Philip Connors Narrator: Sean Runnette Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the tradition of Desert Solitaire and Shop Class as Soulcraft, this is a remarkable debut from a major new voice in American nonfiction—a meditation on nature and life, witnessed from the heights of one of the last fire-lookout towers in America.

For nearly a decade, Philip Connors has spent half of each year in a seven-by-seven foot fire-lookout tower, ten thousand feet above sea level in one of the most remote territories of New Mexico. One of the least developed parts of the country, the first region designated as an official wilderness area in the world, the section he tends is also one of the most fire-prone, suffering more than thirty thousand lightning strikes each year. Written with gusto, charm, and a sense of history, Fire Season captures the wonder and grandeur of this most unusual job and place: the eerie pleasure of solitude, the strange dance of communion and mistrust with its animal inhabitants, and the majesty, might, and beauty of untamed fire at its wildest.

Connors’ time up on the peak is filled with drama—there are fires large and small; spectacular midnight lightning storms and silent mornings awakening above the clouds; surprise encounters with long-distance hikers, smokejumpers, bobcats, black bears, and an abandoned, dying fawn.

Filled with Connors’ heartfelt reflections on our place in the wild, on other writers who have worked as lookouts—Jack Kerouac, Edward Abbey, Norman Maclean, Gary Snyder—and on the ongoing debate over whether fires should be suppressed or left to burn, Fire Season is a remarkable homage to the beauty of nature, the blessings of solitude, and the freedom of the independent spirit.

As Connors writes, “I’ve seen lunar eclipses and desert sandstorms and lightning that made my hair stand on end…I’ve watched deer and elk frolic in the meadow below me and pine trees explode in a blue ball of smoke. If there’s a better job anywhere on the planet, I’d like to know what it is.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Excellent, informative, and delightful.”

    Annie Proulx, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “What a wonderful book. Philip Connors went up to the mountaintop to serve as a lookout—and he has come down with a masterwork of close observation, deep reflection, and hard-won wisdom. This is an unforgettable reckoning with the American land.”

    Philip Gourevitch, former editor of Paris Review

  • Fire Season is an urgent, clear, bright book; it is both lyrical enough to arrest breath and absolutely compelling, reminding us why we need fire, solitude, wilderness. Find room on your bookshelf next to Wallace Stegner and Norman Maclean; Philip Connors is here to stay.”

    Alexandra Fuller, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Connors has succeeded in weaving many stories into one…But it’s what he calls ‘the drama of the self’ that most distinguishes Fire Season—the drama inherent in a solitary existence amid ‘a landscape prone to burn,’ but also the drama of a writer alone before his typewriter finding a voice and new literary life in arid terrain.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “With its glowing orange cover and title, Fire Season looks like another western tale of man versus flame. It turns out to be far rarer than that: a quirky meditation on the lonely pleasures of summers in a 7-by-7-foot lookout tower in a particularly wild patch of the Southwest…A quietly moving love letter to a singular place.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Connors introduces us to his wilderness in this ruminative, lyrical, occasionally suspenseful account that bristles with the narrative energy and descriptive precision of Annie Dillard and dovetails between elegiac introspection and a history of his curious and lonely occupation.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “One of the most elegant ruminations about the wilderness and the rugged West to emerge in quite some time.”

    NPR

  • “Reading this book is like taking a vacation in beautiful scenery with an observant and clever guide. So relax and enjoy.”

    Associated Press

  • “Narrator Sean Runnette provides a relaxed reading that emphasizes the Zen qualities of the job. The resulting audiobook should appeal to armchair rangers.”

    AudioFile

  • “Connors proffers an ecological manifesto for making our peace with fire. More importantly, he offers a profound (and at times hilariously profane) perspective on the relationship between humans and the earth. Attuned to the plants, animals, terrain, and weather patterns of his mountain environment, Connors assumes his rightful place as mere member of this ecosystem, a citizen rather than a conqueror of the wilderness. Passionate and funny, Fire Season is an exciting her addition to the canon of American nature writing.”

    BookPage

  • “Wise and impassioned, Connors’ unique perspective…reflects his literary watchtower forbears Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder, Norman Maclean, and Edward Abbey and illuminates the joys of solitude and the complicated nature of life in a volatile, untamable environment.”

    Booklist

  • One of 2011 Amazon Best Books of the Year
  • A 2011 Library Journal Best Audiobook
  • A 2011 Guardian Best Book of the Year
  • Selected for the May 2011 Indie Next List

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Robin | 5/5/2011

    " This is an amazing memoir, built on a combination of personal experience, science and history. One man, one fire watch-tower, one summer after eight years. I highly recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jeffrey | 3/30/2011

    " Review forthcoming, hopefully in The Book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jessilynn | 12/6/2010

    " Moved too slowly. Good writing though. "

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About the Author

Philip Connors has worked as a baker, a bartender, a house painter, a delivery man, and an editor at the Wall Street Journal. His writing has appeared in Harper’s, Paris Review, the Nation, the Chicago Tribune, Dave Eggers’ Best Nonrequired Reading anthology, the bestselling State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America, and more. Originally from Minnesota, he lives in New Mexico with his wife and their dog.