"Nothing makes complete sense... Knight is like a Rorschach card. He really is an object for everyone to project onto."
Mr. Finkel notes at goodreads, under "Popular Answered Questions" about his book, that Knight "had a wildly unusual idea for how to live" and that "he has an awesome and daunting brain," with "insights into modern society and solitude and the meaning of life that you will find nowhere else." That's all well and good, and over the course of the book you can see how the author feels himself getting closer to Knight, but the fact is that in the long run there really are no answers to be found here. And Chris Knight isn't talking. Finkel's take on the matter is that Knight left "because the world is not made to accommodate people like him," while Knight says only that he'd found a place where he was "content." He also wished that he "weren't so stupid to do illegal things to find contentment." The truth is though that he did. He also caused pain and anguish to his victims. It seems to me to have been an impulsive decision to walk away from his car in 1986 and go into a life of self-imposed isolation; people who go off the grid generally have some long-term plan for how to do it. Chris Knight obviously did not and ended up having to steal for his survival.
The Stranger in the Woods makes for fascinating reading. Aside from Chris Knight's story, what I locked onto really was the author's exploration of the natures of and differences between solitude and isolation. My only issue with this book comes toward the ending in the way that the author wouldn't let go, wouldn't respect the requested privacy of Chris or his family, and would not take no for answer. That just seems wrong to me somehow. However, the book as a whole is well worth reading, and as the title suggests, it is an "extraordinary story."