Book review: ‘Of Walking in Ice’ by Werner Herzog

A quest to save a friend.

‘Of Walking in Ice’ by Werner Herzog

I read this book having been intrigued by an account of it on the excellent Backlisted podcast.

In the winter of 1974, film-maker Werner Herzog made a three week journey on foot from Munich to Paris to visit the hospital bed of his ailing friend, film critic and historian Lotte Eisner. For some reason, Herzog reasoned she could not die while he was on his way to see her.

This book is supposedly taken from the diary Herzog kept during the walk. I say ‘supposedly’ because it is impossible to tell how much of this account is true, and how much fantasy. Herzog trudges through snow and blizzard for weeks on end, drinking milk, eating tangerines, and breaking into unoccupied holiday homes for shelter. He muses. He grumbles. He pisses in an abandoned boot. It’s weird and compelling—just like his documentaries.

File under Sebaldian.


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