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Publisher's Summary

Masterfully narrated by Simon Vance, winner of 14 Audie Awards and 61 Earphone Awards, comes the heartbreaking true story of a natural disaster and the resilience of Japan. The definitive account of what happened, why, and, above all, how it felt when catastrophe hit Japan - by the Japan correspondent of The Times (London) and author of People Who Eat Darkness.

On March 11, 2011, a powerful 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 and met a priest who exorcised the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village that 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 schoolyard 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 soon-to-be classic intimate account of an epic tragedy, told through the accounts of those who lived through it. It tells the story of how a nation faced a catastrophe and the struggle to find consolation in the ruins.

©2017 Richard Lloyd Parry (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

In an understated performance, Simon Vance details one of the stunning tragedies arising from the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011...Vance's steady pacing, crisp enunciation, and careful inflection enhance the weight of the story, which moves between reportage and interviews, and ultimately reveals unsettling truths about this particular disaster." (AudioFile Magazine)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Informative, heart-wrenching, and well read

I learned a lot about Japanese religious culture and the heartbreaking story of incomprehensible loss.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Gripping and Heartbreaking

Ghosts of the Tsunami tells several stories, first, it does a very good job of outlining the geology and geography of the the Tohuku tsunami of 2011.

The earthquake that caused the tsunami was Japan's biggest ever recorded and yet did relatively little damage but the tsunami that followed caught much Japan's northeast coast completely unprepared and as a result almost 20,000 people died.

The author relates several gripping stories of survival and non-survival as a simple wrong turn or 10 second delay meant the difference between surviving and perishing.

He spends a fair amount of time analyzing the sometimes smart and courageous and sometime criminally slow range of responses to the tragedy that have their roots in Japanese traditions and customs.

But the book is mostly an intimate look at the survivors and their struggles to cope with sometimes the staggering loss of entire families from children through to grandparents.

Finally, transcends all of this to speak about universal themes of loss and grief and the overpowering need for understanding and meaning.

The narrator is British and does a credible job with the not-easy-to-get Japanese name and overall presented a fine and engaging performance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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family loss culturally slanted excellent

the loss of children is insurmountable. As it's happening in America from guns and violence so it happened with a tsunami. Many similarities in the social structure and the approach to solving the issue

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating

Beautifully written and read. A fascinating account though heartbreaking. Very hard to not listen cover to cover.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Very good but not as fabulous as People Who Eat Darkness

Narrator is quite annoying. But the story is wrenching and well told and the insight into Japanese culture always fascinating.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

amazing

held me from beginning to end..googled endlessly and watched the videos. i will never live near any beach