One of the great filmmakers, Werner Herzog, in his first novel, tells the incredible true story of Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who continued to defend a small island in the Philippines for twenty-nine years after the end of World War Two

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. At their meeting, Herzog and Onoda spoke for hours, and together began to unravel 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. Defend the territory with guerilla tactics at all costs. There is only one rule: you are forbidden to die by your own hand. In the event of capture, give the enemy all the misleading information you can. Onoda dutifully retreated into the jungle, and so began his long campaign. Soon weeks turned into months, months into years, and years into decades. And all the while Onoda continued to follow his orders, surviving by any means necessary, at first with other soldiers, and then, finally, all alone in the jungle, like a phantom, becoming one with the natural world. Until eventually time itself seemed to melt away.

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.

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