The Stranger in the Woods

The Stranger in the Woods Book Cover The Stranger in the Woods
Michael Finkel
Biography & Autobiography

This was a really interesting read. It is the true story of a man who lived alone in a tent in the Maine woods, never talking to another person and surviving by stealing supplies from nearby cabins for twenty-seven years.

To quote the publisher it is a "riveting 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."

Why do we lead the lives we do? Why do we have to do what everyone else is doing? Why do we have to keep up with the Joneses?

“The more you realize, the more you realize there is nothing to realize,” she said. “The idea that there’s somewhere we have got to get to, and something we have to attain, is our basic delusion.”

Edward Abbey, in Desert Solitaire, a chronicle of two six-month stints as a ranger in Utah’s Arches National Monument, said that being solitary for a long time and fully attuned to the natural world “means risking everything human.” Those who fear this will feel only loneliness, the pain of social isolation, rather than experiencing solitude, which can be by turns exhilarating and turbulent.

Silence, it appears, is not the opposite of sound. It is another world altogether, literally offering a deeper level of thought, a journey to the bedrock of the self.