The Stranger in the Woods

The Stranger in the Woods

The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Book - 2017
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"For readers of Jon Krakauer and The Lost City of Z, a remarkable tale of survival and solitude--the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins for twenty-seven years. In 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even in winter, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store food and water, to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothes, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed, but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of the why and how of his secluded life--as well as the challenges he has faced returning to the world. A riveting story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded"--Publisher description.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101875681
Branch Call Number: B KNIGHT
Characteristics: 203 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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AL_KATI Jun 26, 2017

Wow--this held my interest the entire time. It had a bit of adventure, crime and facts about solitude that I wanted to give it all up and move away. Except I like my creature comforts too much to do that. Highly recommend if you want something about the woods that's a little on the short side (an... Read More »

Could you live 27 years away from society in the wilds of Maine?


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b
bronteside
Aug 10, 2017

Stunning.
An original work of non-fiction mystery.
The irony of a man who leaves the world to escape people
But needs them to finance his new world.
Hermit, loner, misanthrope : Christopher Knight belies all labels.
Michael Finkel gets close to this outlier, but never penetrates
The enigma of Knight.
Nor would anyone else. Knight probably doesn't understand himself, nor cares to.
A disturbing,fascinating and compelling read.

e
elleryqueen
Aug 10, 2017

What a wonderful read! I really enjoyed this book. I can't imagine stealing from other people though. I would miss having contact with other people. Too bad this man could not have found a way to be a Hermit without stealing. Elleryqueen

s
SarahKDaniluk
Aug 09, 2017

I listened to the Audiobook and I oftentimes found myself sitting in the driveway just waiting to see what happened next. This story is fascinating and inspiring in a way that you wouldn't expect. It's a quick "read" and is perfect for sitting on a comfortable couch, curled up with a blanket. While though-provoking, it is accessible and the descriptions of the wilderness are like a mini-vacation for your mind. I highly recommend this book to anyone.

m
MplsTA
Jul 26, 2017

Once I started this book I could not put it down. How can someone live in the Maine woods with virtually no human contact for years? Someone did and this is his story. I enjoyed the author's attempt at getting to know this modern day hermit and learning what his day to day life was like and what it took to survive in the woods for many years with a homemade tent encampment. Why would a man leave everything to "camp out" by himself for so long- getting everything he needed from the woods or breaking into cabins and just taking what he needed to survive.

The author tries to understand "hermit-ism" and living a life of solitude. There are many books on the subject and the titles are listed at the end of his book. I am looking forward to reading several.

I have read the author's other book called "True Story: Murder, Memoir and Mea Culpa" which was turned into a movie. It is also a very good read.

ehbooklover Jul 22, 2017

This book tells the fascinating story of a man who lives in a forest without any human contact for almost 3 decades. It is not only his story, but is also an examination of the history of solitude and of hermits. I really liked that the author managed to avoid treating the subject in a sensationalized manner. Rather, it was treated in a very empathetic and sympathetic way.

f
forgeman
Jul 15, 2017

I found this to be a quick and easy read as it flowed along nicely without being too complicated. but how do you complicate a story of a guy whose sole wish was to just be left alone. there's only one person who knows why Christoper Knight chose the path he did, and apparantly he's not talking. The author did some thorough research to chronicle Knight's time in the woods and to think of what he went through is fascinating. I'd love to hear what he's up to these days, is he still at home? has he gone for a walk with the Lady in the Woods? has he found another fortress of solitude? I guess we'll never know.

t
taylorwoods
Jul 08, 2017

Such an incredible, well-researched, and well-written book about a man who just wants to be alone. Makes me want to read "hermit books" as this book refers to.

l
lizbeth51
Jul 05, 2017

I enjoyed this book very much, so much that I couldn't read anything else. But I am a solitary person, I enjoy it! However, I don't think I could go as far as Chris did to achieve it. I mainly enjoyed learning how he lived, why he felt the need to live alone, (although that wasn't explored quite enough) and also the affect his crimes had on his victims. I recommend this one.

m
mclarjh
Jul 03, 2017

Entertaining, but not extraordinary.

LPL_DanC Jul 03, 2017

I can't stop talking about this book! It raises so many questions, many left unanswered. Except this one: What are the hermit's favorite books? He was a voracious reader during 27 years alone in the woods, speaking to a another human only once, to merely say "Hi." His entire reading life consisted of books he stole from summer cabins. To see his list of recommended reads, check out "The Stranger in the Woods."

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sara34
Aug 16, 2017

sara34 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 9 and 88

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Tjad2L
Apr 20, 2017

Tjad2L thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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SPL_Shauna Jun 26, 2017

For introverted lovers of the outdoors, the idea of escaping into the woods alone for weeks can seem like a balm. But, Christopher Knight managed to vanish into the Maine woods for 27 years without a trace, beyond a legend based on the tiny absences he left behind in sustaining himself. Known to some as the North Pond Hermit or The Hungry Man, his thousands of small, self-sustaining thefts unsettled a community for a quarter century while he lived his peace.

This book was my first experience reading nonfiction with an unreliable narrator. The author is a journalist who admits issues in the past with fudging his stories (he merged a number of sources into one voice for narrative benefit in an earlier project and was caught out). He discloses this midway into the book, and it makes you wonder a bit about what liberties he may have taken with Knight's story; among them, the extent to which Knight understood and gave permission for his tale to be told. It's an uncomfortable reading experience, to be sure, but fascinating as well.

Finkel is an outdoorsman himself, and therefore disposed to feel a certain understanding around Knight's choices. His empathy and curiosity drive the story to read like a novel rather than a biography, and leave readers rooting alternately for Knight, his family, the cottagers and the fledgling friendship between Knight and Finkel. All in all, this book makes for a great summer read, particularly if you're at a remote cottage and enjoy a bit creepiness in a book.

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