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But this is no book review; there are plenty of those out there already. Rather, I'm focused on what society has to offer, or not offer, that would make someone become a hermit. Knight is not the first and he likely won't be the last. Another one, also in Maine, was Captain Ray Phillips. A former New Yorker, he lived and eventually died alone on tiny Manana Island directly across the harbor from Monhegan Island, a wildly popular tourist magnet situated twelve nautical miles from the mainland. Infinitely more social than Knight, Phillips rowed the short distance to Monhegan daily for supplies and to pick up his mail from his many fans. Still, his time was spent mostly in solitude, interrupted by the occasional curious tourist -- I was one of those in 1970 -- with just his herd of sheep for company for 45 years.
I'm too much of a scaredy-cat to go whole hog with the hermit thing, but half a loaf is better than none. And though I miss him when he's gone, those days when my husband is away have a special kind of magic.