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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018 

On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of Northeast 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 nonfiction, a heartbreaking 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. 

©2017 Richard Lloyd Parry (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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Enlightening

Over the years, i have often thought about the victims of the tsunami and their stories and how the survivors have regained some semblance of a normal life. This beautifully narrated insight has indeed satisfied my curiosity. The plight of the Japanese during and after this tragic disaster will always now be part of my consciousness. A remarkable book!

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  • Mark
  • 30-10-2017

sublime

the whole nature of human existence, joy and sadness, poverty and riches is here. I was truly humbled and reminded how fortunate I am. Sounds corny but thats how I feel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Steve Tipper
  • 20-10-2017

great read, factual and informative

Really enjoyed listening to this book, well written and goes to the core of humanity when disaster strikes. full range of emotions with a deeply spirtual twist

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbara
  • 19-01-2018

Hungry Ghosts

The manifestation of so many ghosts to those left behind in the wake of the Tsunami can readily be explained psychologically. When someone desperately wants to see or hear from someone who has died, almost anything can be interpreted as a veridical vision. Three friends of mine have visited "psychics" after the death of loved ones, and strangely enough, not once did the psychic tell them they could see or hear nothing and here's your money back. The proof they received of the presence of the dead was always in their mind utterly conclusive. It always sounds so persuasive that if I had a relative who had died leaving a hidden buried treasure, I'd be scuttling up the stairs to see Madame Warsawka or whoever at Mach 1. Alas, the information given by psychics, like astrologers, is never that useful.

But I don't think that these hungry ghosts are the point of this book, which may well reduce you to tears. Not me though: that was just grit in my eye. A book about the loss of a loved family member - especially an adored child - is often very hard to read, if not impossible. But when the loss occurs on a scale like this - 18, 000 + wiped out within the time it takes me to write all of this - the mind balks. Despite this, by focussing on a few individuals within a small community, the author tells the story on a scale which makes it possible to take in. The descriptions of the persistence of parents, and one mother in particular, and the courage and compassion of the rescuers made me reflect how disaster so often reveals the truth about human beings. Even the fecklessness and dishonesty of some teachers and officials, described in such a way that you are appalled at their immoveable stupidity, does not overshadow that truth at the heart of this story: the love and compassion of one human being for another.

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  • D. Oxford
  • 07-10-2017

Voices that deserve to be heard

Ghosts. The feelings and thoughts that linger long after the wave has receded.
Moving testimony. A privilege to listen to.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful