The Stranger In the Woods

Michael FinkelPublisher: Alfred A. Knopf , New York , 2017
ISBN:9781101875681 Classification: N974.1Fin

Library Journal 11/15/2016 Journalist and memoirist Finkel (True Story) presents the strangely fascinating tale of modern-day hermit Christopher Knight, who spent 27 years living in a hidden tent in the frigid central Maine woods. In 1986, then 20-year-old Knight disappeared. He was not seen again until 2013, when he was arrested for theft. Knight later admitted to stealing food and other supplies frequently from frustrated locals, who dealt with years of repeated break-ins. Through interviews and other reporting with Knight and area residents, Finkel examines the solitary life story and unusual survival strategies of the mysterious figure known locally as the North Pond Hermit. Perhaps fittingly, this unsettling and thought-provoking work raises far more questions than answers. Finkel delves into thorny issues such as Knight's potential mental state, the truth of his claims (which are disputed by locals), and the deeper meaning of solitude, individuality, and personal freedom. The resulting tale is gripping but often unverifiable; readers will have to judge for themselves the veracity and ethics of both Knight's story and Finkel's reporting of it. VERDICT With inevitable comparisons to Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, this book will appeal to recreational readers interested in outdoor adventure, survival stories, or escaping the mainstream.—Ingrid Levin, Salve Regina Univ. Lib., Newport, RI

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