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The stranger in the woods

Finkel, Michael.

Imagine living alone in the wilds for 27 years, with no possessions, no creature comforts and zero contact with anyone else. This is the true story of a man who did just that. One day in 1986, Chris Knight simply abandoned his life and walked out into the Maine woods to become a hermit.

What’s so compelling about this account is the mystery that lies at its heart. Why did Knight drop out of civilization? What kept him alive? And how could he cope for so long without speaking even one word to another human? With skill and passion, the author tackles these questions and sets them within a larger discussion about social obligation, loneliness and personal freedom.

True solitude and silence are difficult to come by these days. Like Into the Wild and Finding Everett Ruess, Stranger offers a fascinating glimpse at a very different way to find this kind of peace and be in the world. (**Review previously published in the Waterloo Region Record, June 3/17.)

Laura (Staff) (Queen's Square Library)