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.
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.
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.