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The Twilight World by Werner Herzog

The Twilight World by Werner Herzog

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The great filmmaker Werner Herzog, in his first novel, tells the incredible story of Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who defended a small island in the Philippines for twenty-nine years after the end of World War II

In 1997, Werner Herzog was in Tokyo to direct an opera. His hosts asked him, Whom would you like to meet? He replied instantly: Hiroo Onoda. Onoda was a former solider famous for having quixotically defended an island in the Philippines for decades after World War II, unaware the fighting was over. Herzog and Onoda developed an instant rapport and would meet many times, talking for hours and together unraveling the story of Onoda’s long war.
 
At the end of 1944, on Lubang Island in the Philippines, with Japanese troops about to withdraw, Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda was given orders by his superior officer: 
Hold the island until the Imperial army’s return. You are to defend its territory by guerrilla tactics, at all costs. . . . There is only one rule. You are forbidden to die by your own hand. In the event of your capture by the enemy, you are to give them all the misleading information you can. So began Onoda’s long campaign, during which he became fluent in the hidden language of the jungle. Soon weeks turned into months, months into years, and years into decades—until eventually time itself seemed to melt away. All the while Onoda continued to fight his fictitious war, at once surreal and tragic, at first with other soldiers, and then, finally, alone, a character in a novel of his own making.
 
In 
The Twilight World, Herzog immortalizes and imagines Onoda’s years of absurd yet epic struggle in an inimitable, hypnotic style—part documentary, part poem, and part dream—that will be instantly recognizable to fans of his films. The result is a novel completely unto itself, a sort of modern-day Robinson Crusoe tale: a glowing, dancing meditation on the purpose and meaning we give our lives.

REVIEWS

“[A] potent, vaporous fever dream; a meditation on truth, lie, illusion and time that floats like an aromatic haze through Herzog’s vivid reconstruction of Onoda’s war . . . Hofmann’s resonant translation conveys the portentous shimmer of Herzog’s voice.” —New York Times Book Review

“[A] wondrous first novel . . .” 
The New Yorker

“[A] spare and lyric tale . . . In his feverish search for ecstatic truths, Herzog has given readers a portal into human folly, self-discipline and domination—surely his life’s work.” 
Washington Post

“As profound and thought-provoking as the best of his films, Herzog’s 
The Twilight World delivers as a superb yet painful parable on the fleeting nature of purpose.” —San Francisco Chronicle  

“From the true story of a WWII soldier who kept up the fight until 1974, legendary filmmaker Herzog distills a brooding, poetic novella . . . Herzog, ever in pursuit of deeper truths, sees in Onoda's predicament an all-too-ordinary tendency to subordinate facts to master narratives.” 
Booklist

PRODUCT DETAILS
Hardcover Edition
Publisher: Penguin Press
ISBN: 978-0593490266
Pages: 144