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Ghosts of the Tsunami : Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone - Richard Lloyd Parry

Ghosts of the Tsunami

Death and Life in Japan's Disaster Zone


Published: 18th September 2017
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On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,000 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned.

It was Japan's greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It set off a national crisis, and the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. And even after the immediate emergency had abated, the trauma of the disaster continued to express itself in bizarre and mysterious ways.

Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings. He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own.

What really happened to the local children as they waited in the school playground in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up?

Ghosts of the Tsunami is a classic of literary non-fiction, a heart-breaking and intimate account of an epic tragedy, told through the personal accounts of those who lived through it. It tells the story of how a nation faced a catastrophe, and the bleak struggle to find consolation in the ruins.

About the Author

Richard Lloyd Parry is Asia Editor of The Times. He was born in 1969 and was educated at Oxford. He has been visiting Asia for eighteen years and since 1995 has lived in Tokyo as a foreign correspondent, first for the Independent and now for The Times. He has reported from twenty-one countries and several wars, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, East Timor, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Kosovo and Macedonia. His work has also appeared in the London Review of Books and the New York Times Magazine.

He is the author of In The Time of Madness, an eyewitness account of the violence that interrupted in Indonesia in the 1990's, and People Who Eat Darkness: The Fate of Lucie Blackman.

"Ghosts of the Tsunami is alert to the social and political ramifications and transfixed by the spectral quality of the post-disaster landscape... These twin streams - one universal, the other intensely particular - come together in the mystery that is at this book's core... Some of his most fascinating chapters take in the disaster's psychological aftermath... It is full of stories of human endeavor, of individual and collective triumph over well-nigh insuperable odds... As well as being full of ghosts, Lloyd Parry's A-grade reportage is also full of metaphors." -- D. J. Taylor * The Times * "Mr Lloyd Parry offers a voice to the grieving who, too often, found it hard to be heard. It is a thoughtful lesson to all societies whose first reaction in the face of adversity is to shut down inquiry and cover up the facts. You will not read a finer work of narrative non-fiction this year." * Economist * "A remarkable and deeply moving book - describing in plain and perfect prose the almost unimaginable devastation and tragedy of the Japanese tsunami." -- Henry Marsh "Ghosts of the Tsunami is enthralling and deeply moving, fully conveying and involving the reader in the sheer horror and tragedy of all that happened yet with such beauty, honesty and sincerity. Richard Lloyd Parry has returned the trust and done justice to the victims and their families a hundredfold.'" -- David Peace "A stunning book from the man who has a strong claim to be the most compelling non-fiction writer in the world." -- Johann Hari

ISBN: 9781911214182
ISBN-10: 1911214187
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.3  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.4