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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: 92 KNIGHT
B Knight Finkel 2017
Characteristics: 203 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


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Mar 20, 2021

Interesting almost unbelievable story. Not very well written

Mar 18, 2021

Interesting book. Well written, journalistic book. Recommend

Jan 14, 2021

As a young man Chris Knight builds a hidden camp in the Maine outback. He lives in this isolated. patch of woods entirely alone for over 25 years. He steals food and and supplies from a nearby camp and eventually gets caught redhanded. Slightly disturbing, sad ending. I felt like a voyeur invading someone’s privacy. Knight’s repeated earnest pleas to the author to leave him alone went mostly unheeded. It was creepily interesting to read about someone choosing self isolation during this time of mandated quarantine.

Sep 23, 2020

Fun read and an extraordinary story of how Christopher Knight survived for so long without human contact

Aug 19, 2020

This was a fascinating read. Try to imagine living alone with no human contact for 25 years by choice - it’s mind boggling! It was hard not to feel sorry for him, even though he broke into houses hundreds of times and stole things he needed to survive.

May 12, 2020

In 1986 20-year-old Chris Knight drove his Subaru deep into the remote forests of Maine. He abandoned the vehicle and set out into the wilderness with virtually nothing. Over time he erected a camp for himself, where he lived in solitude for more than two decades, sustaining himself only by stealing from nearby camps and cabins. When anti-theft technology finally became no match for him, he was finally apprehended in 2013. What drove Knight to self-isolate to such an extent? Is he nuts? What sort of atonement is appropriate for over one thousand incidences of theft during that time by an individual who simply wanted to be alone? This incredible (Maine winters are COLD!) story of survival is told deftly by journalist Michael Finkel, who corresponded with and paid several visits to Knight while he was incarcerated. I'm not sure why, but survival/isolation stories resonate with me, and I've long romanticized the idea of setting out on a journey with only what I can carry on my back.

Mar 21, 2020

The Stranger in the Woods is a pretty good book that follows author Michael Finkel learn about Christopher Knight, a man who lived in solitude for 27 years. At some parts, Finkel writes more about himself than necessary, but all in all the book is a fun read that's really interesting.

Mar 20, 2020

"The Stranger in the Woods" is an intriguing book about a hermit in the woods of Maine who survived for 27 years without any human contact. He stole only necessary supplies from nearby cabins, but was eventually apprehended while during one of his burglaries.

I would recommend this book for anyone who would enjoy a good analysis of an interesting story.

Feb 20, 2020

A bit of silence and solitude will do our souls some good.

This book was a very interesting true story about a twenty year old man, who waked away from society and chose to live in the woods. This takes place in a remote area, of the state of Maine. The story about Chris Knight is interesting, however, what fascinated me was how Finkel goes into detail about the history of living in solitude, or what might be considered being a "hermit". There are different titles given to these individuals, such as, recluse, monks, swamis, anchorites, ascetics. He describes three general groups to explain why they hide: protesters, pilgrims, pursuers. All the information Finkel provides regarding these three groups was what I found so fascinating. For example, there are around a million protester hermits living in Japan right now, called hikikomori -"pulling forward", who have rejected Japan's pressure-cooker culture. What's bizarre about these people, is that many have retreated to their bedrooms and never come out. Pilgrims, considered religious hermits, are the largest group. Jesus Christ for example would be considered a Pilgrim. Finkel sights several familiar people I would not have considered as hermits, but he describes why they would be. I loved this book and the history it provided about this subject.

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Aug 14, 2019

pataustin11 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Jan 04, 2018

runningbeat thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Apr 20, 2017

Tjad2LT thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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ArapahoeStaff26 Aug 27, 2019

It wasn't reading or listening to the radio that actually occupied the majority of Knight's free time. Mostly what he did was nothing. He sat on his bucket or in his lawn chair in quiet contemplation...He was never once bored. He wasn't sure, he said that he even understood the concept of boredom. pg. 109

Sep 19, 2017

Silence, it appears, is not the opposite of sound. It is another world altogether, literally offering a deeper level of thought, a journey to the bedrock of the self.


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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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