Date finished: October 22, 2017
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit, Michael Finkel
An intensely interesting biography of an introverted man.
Finkel tells the story of Christopher Knight, who lived alone in the woods for 27 years, reportedly uttering only one syllable in the time between his abandonment of society and his capture.
The Stranger in the Woods is reminiscent of Into the Wild — both Knight and McCandless introverts who longed to explore nature in solitude.
Knight, however, resorted to constant theft for nearly all of his 27 years in the woods, stealing batteries, frozen food, propane tanks, clothes, and other goods from a nearby town. He robbed some locations repeatedly every year, and terrified some families.
Apart from his theft (which eventually caused his arrest and forced him to abandon his longtime refuge in the woods), Knight’s feat is nothing short of incredible. Finkel, a journalist, interviewed several people in response to Knight’s capture and story, and many reported a complete disbelief in Knight’s — or anyone’s — ability to survive alone in the Maine woods for such a long time without contracting a serious illness, needing a hospital or doctor, or freezing in the winter.
While I don’t admire Knight on the same level or plain that I do McCandless, his story remains an interesting one that I’m happy to have read about.
A quick, engaging, memorable read.
Photo courtesy @booksandbrews (Instagram)