In the summer of 1986, a young man returning home from a road trip impulsively drove past his house without stopping and continued north on smaller and smaller roads until he reached a forest trail in northern Maine, where he abandoned his car, stepped out into the wilderness, and disappeared for 27 years.
His name was Christopher Knight. He was the fifth son of a close-knit rural family that observed the old American virtues of self-reliance, practical ingenuity and extreme reticence (so extreme they never told the police he had gone missing). Aside from camp chores and cabin raids, he had spent the last quarter-century contemplating nature, reading stolen books, listening to his stolen radio and playing stolen video games. He hadn't spoken to anyone except to say "Hi", once, to a hiker he'd failed to avoid.
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.
A National Geographic Best Book of the Year
"Campfire-friendly and thermos-ready, easily drained in one warm, rummy slug. It also raises a variety of profound questions-about the role of solitude, about the value of suffering, about the diversity of human needs." -The New York Times
"A meditation on solitude, wildness and survival." -The Wall Street Journal
Please join us Thursday, Oct. 4 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the LLL Center. Lorna Bray will facilitate the discussion. It is free but registration is required.
- Nov. 1 - Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- Dec. 6 - The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie Benedict