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The Stranger in the Woods

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This book is about Chris Knight, who in 1986 walked away from society and spent the next 26 years living mostly undetected in the woods in Maine. He'd been the subject of a podcast I'd listened to recently, so I thought I'd give this a read.


It charts his early life, where he learnt practical and survival skills in and around the family home estate through the many years spent in the wilderness without human contact, but where he managed to survive by stealing supplies from the cabins and camps in the area, to his eventual capture. Author Michael Finkel was one of the few visitors to Knight when he was incarcerated and whilst his status as a hermit is subject of debate (he is equally legendary and villified by the cabin owners in the North Pond area), his yearning for solitude and a deep introspective connection with nature is well captured in the writing. Knight comes across as a complex character - for the most part he's emotionless and deeply private, desiring to be left alone, but at the same time expresses regret and shame for having to resort to theft in order to survive. 


I really enjoyed reading this, and finished it in two sittings - the flow of the writing was good and Knight's story is intriguing, and in these current technology obsessed times I found his experience alluring (I guess it speaks to the hermit deep down in all of us!). 

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