The Stranger in the Woods: A short review by the Bard of the South

The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel is one of the best reading experiences I’ve ever had with a best seller.

Generally, Rather than follow the Best Sellers List (which I’ve had suspicions about) I choose my readings (both fiction and nonfiction) based on my interests, my favorite authors,  and my favorite genres–history, biography, and memoirs. I was signing my book, The Rio Grande Valley ABC at The Twig, a fine independent book seller in San Antonio and conversing with the store manager and somehow our discussion drifted to this book. I bought the book immediately and had it read by the next day. It was an absolutely amazing read.

The book tells the story of Christopher Knight, a man of amazing intuitive intelligence, who disappeared into the Maine forest and survived there for twenty-seven years. I learned much more from this reading than I expected, though I’ve always had an interest in hermits, the ascetic monks, eremites, and secluded loners who have drifted through history, searching for solitude, surviving and sometimes shaping the civilizations they fled.

This is a psychological and societal study of survival and values, as well as a profile of a determined individual who even to the author Finkel is difficult to define, describe, and defend or defame.

I highly recommend this book. Read it, and you will learn much more about life, our country, and about nature than you realize.

 

Finkel, Michael. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last       True Hermit. Alfred A. Knopf. New York: 2017.