Monday, June 17, 2013

Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami , Gretel Erlich

While Gretel Erlich obviously feels deeply about Japan, and her experiences there both before and after the tsunami, I did not enjoy this book at all.
I was hoping to read about the tsunami and learn about the geology, the earthquake, the people, the effects, Fukishima, the radiation, and the aftermath, like Douglas Brinkley's book The Great Deluge covers Hurricane Katrina, but this is not the book for that.
This book instead felt (to me) very self absorbed and even upsetting- as soon as the disaster happened, this writer rushed there not to help, or even, apparently, effectively document what was going on, but rather to experience the drama and tragedy first hand, and to write some Japanese style poetry about her feelings about it all.
I found the book to be weakly written, in terms of factual information and also in narrative structure, I found the poetry to be mawkish, and I found the entire book to be unsettlingly condescending and a nasty piece of culture-vulture disaster-tourism work.

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