Many people dream of escaping modern life. Most will never act on it--but in 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight did just that when he left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another person for the next twenty-seven years.
Drawing on extensive interviews with Knight himself, journalist Michael Finkel shows how Knight lived in a tent in a secluded encampment, developing ingenious ways to store provisions and stave off frostbite during the winters. A former alarm technician, he stealthily broke into nearby cottages for food, books, and supplies, taking only what he needed but sowing unease in a community plagued by his mysterious burglaries. Since returning to the world, he has faced unique challenges--and compelled us to reexamine our assumptions about what makes a good life. By turns riveting and thought-provoking,The Stranger in the Woods gives us a deeply moving portrait of a man determined to live his own way.
Michael Finkel is the author of True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, which was adapted into a 2015 major motion picture. He has written forNational Geographic, GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine. He lives in western Montana.
"A story that takes the two primary human relationships--to nature and to one another--and deftly upends our assumptions about both. This was a breathtaking book to read and many weeks later I am still thinking about the implications for our society and--by extension--for my own life."
"An absorbing exploration of solitude and man's eroding relationship with the natural world. Though the 'stranger' in the title is Knight, one closes the book with the sense that Knight, like all seers, is the only sane person in a world gone insane--that modern civilization has made us strangers to ourselves."
--Nathaniel Rich, The Atlantic
"Campfire-friendly and thermos-ready, easily drained in one warm, rummy slug... Raises a variety of profound questions--about the role of solitude, about the value of suffering, about the diversity of human needs."
--Jennifer Senior, The New York Times
"Michael Finkel has done something magical with this profound book... [His] investigation runs deep, summoning...the human history of our own attempts to find meaning in a noisy world."
"Chris Knight is an American original... I burned through this haunting tale in one rapt sitting."
Check out Michael Finkel's own website with photographs and a Q&A, here!