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Facing the wave : a journey in the wake of the tsunami
Gretel Ehrlich
Adult Nonfiction GC222.J3 E47 2013

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Rarely has "you-are-here" reporting been as eloquent and searing as Ehrlich's visit to Japan's Tohoku coast. This is where, in March of 2011, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami "devastated almost four hundred miles of Japan's northeastern coast and caused the cooling apparatus of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant to fail, resulting in three hydrogen explosions and the massive nuclear meltdowns in four nuclear reactors." Ehrlich journeys throughout the region with Japanese friends, meeting survivors and hearing their harrowing stories. With stories of water that "was black with diesel and gas, sewage, dirt, and blood," this book is not for the faint of heart, but memorable portraits emerge: a woman learns to use a backhoe to dig for her daughter's body; a man carries one town's beloved geisha to safety on his back. Meanwhile, an uncle of Ehrlich's friend has made his peace, observing: "I lost everything. Now I feel better." The vividness of these people and the invitation to readers to meet and know them make up for the book's one major fault: a seeming reluctance on Ehrlich's part to define her own connections to Japan and the people she clearly knows and loves there. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Ehrlich (The Future of Ice: A Journey into Cold) has done the mildly unthinkable: she traveled to tsunami-devastated Japan just months after the March 2011 deluge. The waters may have mostly returned to the sea, but the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was still churning waste into the air and water. Bodies were still being uncovered; once tight-knit villages stood as ghost towns; sorrow hung in the air along with the summer heat. There she interviewed fishermen, farmers, teachers, monks, nuns, and even a retired geisha. All of these brave souls are survivors in one way or another-the loss of their parents, children, friends, homes, and/or lands is staggering, one horrific story followed by another. Verdict Readers will certainly not find this type of journey recommended by Conde Nast or Travel & Leisure. The descriptions of the stench of the dead and the grief of the living are alternately numbing and horrifying. Nothing and no one was left unharmed: schoolchildren, elderly pensioners, cats, dogs, horses, cows, fish, crops. A well-written, important book to read-if you can take it. [See Prepub Alert, 8/3/12.]-Lee Arnold, Historical Soc. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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