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March 7, 2017 / Leslie

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel

A Rapid Review

The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit

Publisher: PRH Audio | Knopf Books | March 2017
Format: Audio 6½ hours | 224 pages | Rating: 5 stars
Audio Listening Level: Easy

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality–not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.

What’s it about . . .
With no survival training and little preparation, 20-year-old Christopher Knight abandoned his car and walked into the woods. He did not speak to another human for almost 30 years. He lived in a tent and would break into local cottages to steal supplies – food, clothes, books, watches. There were rumors about the hermit, but no one really believed it was the same person breaking in for all those years. And besides, who could survive the frigid Maine winters living outside. The answers came when the cost of surveillance equipment dropped in price, and residents began to capture images of a man breaking into their cottages.

What did I think . . .
This is a true story and one that I had never heard about. I love nature but I could never, ever exist solely in the woods. Through his persistence, the author was able to get Knight, a reluctant interviewee, to answer many of his questions. I was instantly absorbed in Knight’s story.

When Knight was finally caught by the local park service, he went peacefully. He admitted he had stolen and felt bad about it. He took as little as he could, never the most expensive items, and only what he needed. The interviews with Knight were fascinating. He was not the ‘crazy’ unkempt person you would imagine a hermit to look like. He was soft-spoken and intelligent. And he managed to survive all those years but never built a real campsite, living only in a tent!

This is a quick read; an amazing, compelling story.

Audio production . . .
The audiobook is read by Mark Bramhall who performed the narration with empathy in soft, soothing tones. I switched between audio and print, and finished the book in only two days. This was an easy listen and one I would recommend to those interested in trying an audiobook for the first time.

Audio Sample . . .

An Under My Apple Tree Rapid Review
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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Leave a Comment
  1. Diane / Mar 7 2017 5:21 pm

    This sounds really good!


    • Leslie / Mar 7 2017 5:27 pm

      I think you’d like it – either audio or print.


  2. WordsAndPeace / Mar 8 2017 7:58 pm

    It’s been on my TBR, so thanks for confirming, I’ll try to get to it soon. But not as audio, as I’m in a larger project to listen to all of Sherlock Holmes (with Simon Prebble)




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