The Stranger in the Woods
The Extraordinary Story of the Last True HermitBook - 2017
From Library Staff
The intriguing, thought-provoking story of one of the last-known hermits living in the U.S. Well-written with lots of fascinating musings about socialization, relationships, and the question of what makes us human. AL_HOLLYR
AL_LESLEY Oct 26, 2017
The fascinating story of Christopher Knight and his return to civilization after 27 years alone in the woods of Maine. Told with feeling by the author.
AL_HOLLYR Sep 18, 2017
One of the most intriguing, thought-provoking books I have read this year. The fascinating tale of the man who may have been the the last "true" hermit in the United States. Well-written with lots of interesting musings about the question of whether or not socialization is a necessary... Read More »
AL_SARAHD Sep 05, 2017
Many of us wish to make an escape from this world; to go off into the wilderness and never return. Christopher Knight is the exception. He left his world, his family, and his possessions for a life of complete silence and solitude. They called him "hermit" or "insane" but it... Read More »
Could you live 27 years away from society in the wilds of Maine?
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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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