PW Pick of the Week: Of Walking in Ice

Publishers Weekly

Of Walking in Ice by Werner HerzogIn late 1974, Werner Herzog was on a mission. He believed that his friend Lotte Eisner, a film historian, would survive a serious illness if he walked from Munich to Paris, where she was convalescing. This eloquent diary recounts his journey and his fleeting thoughts while walking. He offers typical Herzogian observations of the coarse salt on pretzels and the trusting faces of sheep caught in a snowstorm. But perhaps more revealing is his mix of pensive musings about loneliness and practical concerns about his blisters and swollen Achilles tendon, the constant rain, and finding a place to sleep. Herzog's slight narrative is captivating because his experiences humanize the legendary filmmaker. He is full of curiosity and wonder. Finding cigarette packets on the roadside or a bicycle discarded in a brook stimulates his imagination. A rainbow inspires confidence, while cranes flying in formation provide a "metaphor for him who walks." Even when he meanders into strange asides, such as a story about his grandfather, Herzog remains interesting.

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