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The Twilight World: A Novel



The Twilight World: A Novel PDF

Author: Werner Herzog

Publisher: Penguin Press

Genres:

Publish Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN-10: 0593490266

Pages: 144

File Type: Epub, PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

he night coils in fever dreams. No sooner awake than with an awful shudder, the landscape reveals itself as a durable daytime version of the same nightmare, crackling and flickering like loosely connected neon tubes. From daybreak the jungle has twitched in the ritual tortures of electricity. Rain. The storm is so distant that its thunder is not yet audible. A dream? Is it a dream? A wide path, on either side dense underbrush, rotting mulch on the ground, the leaves dripping. The jungle remains stiff, patient, humble, until the office of the rain has been celebrated.

Then this, as though I’d been there myself. Sounds of voices in the distance; happy cries coming ever nearer. From the bodiless mist of the jungle a body acquires form. A young Filipino man comes hurrying along the path, down the slight incline. Curious, as he runs, in one hand he holds up over his head the remnants of an umbrella, now nothing but a wire skeleton and shreds of cloth, in the other a bolo knife. Close behind him is a woman with an infant on her arm, followed by seven or eight other villagers. What has provoked the joyous excitement is not evident. They hurry by, then nothing happens. The steady drip, drip from the trees, the quiet path.

A path, just a jungle footpath. And yet, immediately in front of me, on the right-hand side, a stir passes through a few of the moldering leaves. What was that? Another moment of stillness. Then a section of the wall of leaves at eye level in front of me, that too begins to move. Slowly, terribly slowly, a green man takes form. Is it a ghost? The thing I have been watching all along without recognizing it is a Japanese soldier. Hiroo Onoda. Even if I had known exactly where he was standing, I would not have seen him, so consummate is his camouflage. He peels the wet leaves off his legs, then the green twigs he has carefully fastened to his body. He reaches into the thicket for his rifle, beside which he has concealed his camouflaged rucksack. I see a military man in his early fifties; a wiry build; every movement exaggeratedly circumspect. His uniform is made of sewn-together scraps; the butt of his rifle is wound around with tree bark. He listens intently, then disappears silently after the villagers. Ahead of me is the clay path, still the same, but new now, different, full of secrets. Was it a dream?

The path, a little lower now, has widened out at this point. The rain is no more than a trickle. Onoda studies the footprints in the clay, listening all the time, constantly on the alert. His lively eyes swivel in every direction. The birds have struck up, calmly, as though to assure him that danger is a word in a dictionary now, a mysterious condition of the landscape. The humming of the insects is regular. I start to hear with Onoda’s ears that their humming is not aggressive, is not troubled. From afar the pouring of a stream, even though I have yet to see a stream, as though I were, like Onoda, beginning to translate sounds

Contents

Cover

Also by Werner Herzog

Title Page

Copyright

Lubang, a Path in the Jungle (February 20, 1974)

Lubang, Wakayama Tributary (February 21, 1974)

Lubang Airfield (December 1944)

Lubang (January 1945)

Lubang, Tilik (January 1945)

Lubang, Jungle (End of January 1945)

Lubang (February 1945)

Lubang, near Tilik (Late February 1945)

Lubang, Looc Overlook (October 1945)

Lubang, Jungle, Agcawayan River (November 1945)

Lubang, Jungle, Snake Mountain (December 1945)

Lubang, Hill 500 Summit (End of 1945)

Rice Paddy, Northern Plain of Lubang (Early 1946)

Lubang (Rainy Season, 1954)

Lubang, Jungle Periphery (1954)

Lubang, West Coast (1971)

Lubang, Hill 500 (1971)

Lubang, the Lowlands near Looc (1971)

Lubang, South Coast (1971)

Lubang, Hill 500 (1971)

Lubang, Jungle Footpath (October 19, 1972)

Lubang (From late 1972)

Lubang, Wakayama Tributary (March 9, 1974, 8:00 a.m.)

Lubang, Hill 500 (March 9, 1974, 10:30 a.m.)

About the Author and Translator


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