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The Twilight World  By  cover art

The Twilight World

By: Werner Herzog,Michael Hofmann - translator
Narrated by: Werner Herzog
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Publisher's Summary

A National Bestseller!

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 29 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.

©2022 Werner Herzog and Michael Hofmann (P)2022 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Twilight World

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Herzog finds his perfect subject

Personally, I think this book is worth it's price simply to hear Herzog himself pronounce words like 'insect' or 'vileness'. It so happens I recently rewatched both Herzog's film Fitzcarraldo (1982) as well as Les Blank's film Burden of Dreams (1982) about the making of Fitzcarraldo. It was such a traumatic experience for Herzog that I can't help thinking he saw himself in the Japanese soldier who is the protagonist of this book. In other words this is something of a proto-autobiography, or at least we hear the echos of Fitzcarraldo throughout....which doesn't deter from the story one bit. I also love the fact that when Herzog was in Japan he declined an invitation to meet with the Emperor but instead chose to meet with Onoda. Herzog is the real deal in a universe of artistic phonies and marginal talents.I hope he films this book. He also does a superb job of narrating. No one could have done it better.

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Bad Translation? Fascinating history.

Wondering if the translation attempted to be too flowery. The words just don't flow in your head while reading. The audio version was easier to follow but still, the cadence was not engaging.

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Hard to enjoy

Very hard listening in part due to the monotone delivery and in part the peculiar narrative

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Mesmerizing…

A captivating, almost unbelievable odyssey of one man’s journey fighting never ending war of conviction within himself. Herzog again touches our soul and humanity with Hiroo Onoda’s determination to defend and fight in a war long over.

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Incredible story!

I had heard of Hiroo Onoda but never really gave his story much thought. This book by Werner Herzog brings his story to light and tells the amazing story of his continued fight and dedication for years after the war ended. 5 stars all around!

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Herzog was the perfect man to tell his story

In this book, one man who found himself lost in a jungle tells the tale of another man who found himself lost in a jungle. hurt dogs. performance is fantastic, his text is illustrative, and the story is riveting.

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A Testament to False Conviction

All of us are capable of self deception, not all of us can truly commit.

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In Our World Full Of Know It Alls… There Is So Much We Don’t Know

After reading this I realized I knew very little about what it truly means to be honorable.