The View from Here

Lynne Hin­ton

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews - LAURA LEAVITT

New­south Books (JUNE) Hard­cover $25.95 (226pp) 978-1-58838-347-1

Lynne Hin­ton’s charm­ing The View From Here in­ter­laces rec­ol­lec­tions of child­hood days of won­der in the woods with themes of protest­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion.

Katie Sin­clair isn’t quite sure why she de­cided it was worth it to climb up in a tree and stay put, de­spite the bull­doz­ers bearing down on it. It could be that she was try­ing to get away from the af­ter­math of her divorce, or her long-stand­ing dis­tance from her fa­ther, or the many small and large tragedies of her past.

But peo­ple show up for Katie. They come to see her each day, mak­ing sure she is still safe up in her tree. Their ac­tions show that Katie’s North Carolina com­mu­nity is as com­mit­ted to her as she is to the wood­pecker she hopes to save by pre­vent­ing the for­est’s demolition.

Char­ac­ter re­la­tion­ships shine as the stars of the story, es­pe­cially be­tween Katie and her friends like Ray, Char­lene, and Lily Carol. Their hu­mor­ous di­a­logue soft­ens the in­tense drama of var­i­ous tree­top hi­jinks.

When it seems like Katie is mak­ing trou­ble for her­self, her friends are the ones to re­mind her how good she can be. In spite of the slow un­veil­ing of just how iso­lated and un­happy the nar­ra­tor is, it is clear that con­sid­er­able love and care sur­round her.

De­scrip­tions of nat­u­ral beauty and the his­tory of bird­watch­ing and bird habi­tat preser­va­tion give depth to the story. Chap­ter tran­si­tions are at times abrupt; there is lit­tle change in the scenery, so chap­ters shift through im­me­di­ate plunges into the next con­ver­sa­tions with vis­i­tors to the tree.

The View From Here is a poignant med­i­ta­tion on what makes the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment worth sav­ing; it also shows how in­te­gral re­la­tion­ships are to sav­ing hu­man be­ings.

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