The Stranger in the Woods:
The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
This event includes a book signing
March 15, 2017
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes the author of True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa MICHAEL FINKEL for a discussion of his latest book, The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit.
About The Stranger in the Woods
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 twenty-seven years, making this dream a reality—not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.
In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life—why did he leave? what did he learn?—as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
"Michael Finkel has somehow found a story that takes the two primary human relationships—to nature and to one another—and deftly upends our assumptions about both. His subject, Christopher Knight, survived alone for decades at the fringes of American society. In Finkel's hands, that story assumes the power and dignity of parable and feels as if we have having been waiting our whole lives to hear what someone like Knight might say about us. Predictably, it's not good. But it feels true and honest and important. 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." —Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
"As ever, Michael Finkel's voice in this fresh new chronicle is clean, clear, lucid—his attention fair and compassionate. The Stranger in the Woods is an altogether surprising page-turner that helps us to see his twisted saint's essential sanity, and in so doing to question our own." —Lawrence Weschler, author of Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder and Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Featured event books will be for sale at the event for 20% off. Thank you for supporting this author series with your purchases.
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