Amongst readers of Bill Bryson's inimitable narrative, A Walk in the Woods, there is a running debate about his hapless hiking companion, Katz. Some critics even go so far as to suggest that Katz was a fictional character. That' ridiculous.
First of all, Bryson refers to Katz in two more of his books, including the recently published Thunderbolt Kid. He acknowledges using a pseudonyum for Katz. But, more importantly, he says that despite Katz's monumental character flaws, he is nonetheless one of the finest people he (Bryson) ever met. Katz in fact took the rap for some high school prank of theirs and was expelled to military reform school.
But a further reason to be a Katz fan is very simple. He is quite representative of a large sample of the AT's annual 4,000,000 strong hiking population. Fat, out-of-shape, struggling; but, at the end of the day he develops a measure of gratitude for the great American institution--the Appalachian Trail.
Skywalker--author of Skywalker--Close Encounters on the